Hog raising for returning OFWs

MANILA, Philippines -- A leading animal nutrition and healthcare company is launching a new program that will teach returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) how to put up their own piggery projects.

The program is called Balikbayan Bagong Kabuhayan under the auspices of Univet Nutrition and Animal Healthcare Company (UNAHCO). The first training will be held at the company's headquarters in Mandaluyong City on May 11.

Clint B. Escondo, UNAHCO's senior product manager and group head of the swine cluster, said that the training is for free. Each batch could consist of 50 to 70 attendees.

Escondo said that hog raising, even on a backyard scale, could be a profitable venture for returning overseas workers. The beauty about piggery is that it has a short gestation period, which means that cash flow starts within a short period.

There are three types of backyard project that the OFWs can engage in. One is the grow-out operation where the proponent buys piglets for fattening. He can buy 10 weanlings for a start, for instance. If the pigs are well managed, they can be sent to market after taking care of them for four months. Usually, the animals would weigh 85 to 90 kilos each. Usually, the profit is P20 per kilo liveweight.

Another type of backyard piggery operation is called Sow-Litter operation. This means the investor buys breeding animals, say five female breeders for a start. He breeds the animals and after weaning the litter, the piglets are sold to interested buyers who are in the fattening business. The usual price of a weanling is P2,000.

The third type of backyard project is called Farrow to Finisher operation. In this scheme, the project proponent buys female breeders. After giving birth, the weanlings are not sold. Instead, they are sold after they are fattened. This also has its own advantage.

In the seminar, the attendees are taught about proper housing, stock selection, proper nutrition, disease management, biosecurity or the need for disinfection of the growing area, etc. They may also be taught about artificial insemination.

Actually, UNAHCO has been conducting free training of pig farmers in different parts of the country in the last 10 years. Many of the backyard farmers are successful in their projects because of the latest production techniques that are taught by the company's technicians.

Escondo revealed that out of the 13 million hogs produced in the Philippines, about 9 million are produced by backyard raisers. Most of the backyard raisers maintain three to five sows. A five-sow level is estimated to produce 100 piglets per year. If the owner opts to fatten all of them, it is estimated that he could make a net profit of P180,000.

Resource persons for the seminar are experts from the International Training Center for Pig Husbandry and UNAHCO experts themselves.

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