Organizing Small Livestock Raisers: Key to Profitability

Livestock Industry Situationer

In CY 2005, the livestock industry generated over P800 billion value of production (Bureau of Agricultural Statistics). This staggering amount has created allied industries worth billions of pesos. These industries include, among others, feed milling, marketing and distribution, manufacture of veterinary drugs and supplies, fresh meat production, and meat and meat by-products processing, dairy products and milk production and a multitude of other foods, cosmetics, and industrial products.

These industries generate hundreds of thousands of jobs – from the small backyard livestock farmers comprising the bulk of the raisers to the workers of the commercial livestock or poultry farms and in all the allied industries. The irony of it all, however, is that majority of the smallhold backyard livestock farmers are poor and could hardly afford to buy the fresh meat, from their animal produce. They practice inefficient production methods that result to unprofitable enterprise. The end result is high prices of meat and meat products that are hardly affordable to the poor people. The major reason for the inefficient production system is, the smallhold livestock farmers are disorganized.

Potentials of Livestock Production

Livestock and poultry farming has big potential as a profitable venture. This is because the meat, milk, eggs, canned meats and the like are prime food commodities with regular and high demand. In spite of the big potentials, however, the disorganized groups of smallhold livestock raisers remain poor. Apparently, only the commercial scale raisers and organized backyard raisers have profitable business because they run their business efficiently and profitably. These groups earn the bulk of the profit. The small farmer can systematically do this production by integrating his crop farming with livestock raising and earn a sustained and regular income. With experience, the farmer can expand his livestock production to earn a bigger income and consequently, raise his standard of living.

A Production Scheme in Livestock Production

To illustrate the importance of an organized and specialized scheme in livestock production is what happened a few years back, as reported by some national dailies. There was this major beef supplier in Tondo, who imported several hundred heads of Australian cattle and fattened them in a feedlot in Pampanga for a period of 4-5 months. The animals were slaughtered and sold as beef in the Metro Manila market. The operator organized and contracted some corn farmers who were near his feedlot to produce the corn fodder for his cows. The farmers planted corn and harvested them as whole plant.

These chopped corn comprised the feed bulk, chopped to about an inch long to enhance consumption and minimize wastage. The operator paid P1.00 each per whole corn plant. A hectare of forage corn may have a population of 60,000 plants, grown in a 45-50 days cycle, thus earning for the farmer some P60,000 for a hectare of corn. This arrangement made the farmer happy because he could not possibly earn that amount if he produced and sold the grains to the traders. The ordinary corn farmer may earn only from P35,000.00 P40,000 in about 110 day-period, if his corn yield was 4-5 tons/ha at a price of P 8/kg.

The partnership of the feedlot operator with the organized farmers who planted forage corn was a win-win arrangement. The feedlot operator was assured of a continuous supply of nutritious and palatable feeds while the forage corn farmers received premium price for their crop, in a continuing basis.

In another instance, the Lipa Multipurpose Cooperative in Lipa City or LIMCOMA, is engaged in the milling and processing of animal feeds particularly for swine and poultry, among other ventures. The produced feeds are sold to the active members of the cooperative who are into swine and poultry raising. In this arrangement, the swine and poultry raisers are assured of a steady, available, and affordable supply of high quality feeds, ensuring profitability in their business, while the LIMCOMA has now grown into a highly viable cooperative that pays regular dividends to its members. This is another form of an efficient partnership between livestock and poultry raisers and a reliable feed supplier.

Production Scheme in Goat Raising

Many small farmers would like to augment their income from crop farming. Backyard goat raising is a practical and easy means to integrate in a crop farming system. Goat raising gives chevon or goat meat which is a specialty and delicacy among Filipinos. It commands higher price than pork, beef or poultry. Goat’s milk is also another high end product that can give income to the farmer on a daily basis. Goat raising can be a highly profitable venture that can give a sustained income to the farmer, provided a systematic approach and collective effort among the farmers is instituted. The Office of the Municipal Agricultural Officer or the Provincial

Agriculturist can be tapped to organize the farmers into a goat raising association, in coordination with the Cooperative Development Authority. There are available technologies for intervention available at the DA, the local government units (LGUs), or even from the Internet that can be used as guide in raising goats in confinement to maximize animal production in a limited space. To operationalize this, however, firstly, a feasibility study should be conducted to determine whether the project will be profitable. If the study proves feasible, a goat raisers’ group is then organized and production may start.

Those with the land area may specialize in producing the feeds while others raise the breeder animals that will produce the animals to be commercially raised. A greater number of the farmers may then raise goats either to be grown as fatteners or as dairy goats or a combination of the two. The bottom line here is the attractive income and return of investment for the farmers. Continuous study on how to improve the scheme may be devised to ensure the efficiency and profitability of goat production.

For more information, contact:

Bureau of Agricultural Research
Department of Agriculture
3/F RDMIC Bldg., Visayas Ave.
cor. Elliptical Rd., Diliman Quezon City 1104

Trunklines: 928-8505 or 927-0226
Local Nos. 2043, 2042, 2044
Fax: 920-227 or 927-5691
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: www.bar.gov.ph

source: Rolando V. Kintana, DVM of www.bar.gov.ph

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