Partnerships for Enhanced Goat Production
Before, goat raising was only a farmers’ hobby. But now, it has become a livelihood in at least 33 towns and cities in Ilocos Region, thanks to the efforts of the Department of Agriculture-Regional Fied Unit I.
This regional development effort was needed after the Crop-Animal Systems Research Network (CASREN); the pilot project of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) that worked with Pangasinan farmers in increasing the productivity of crop-live
11 systems by introducing technologies.
What’s noteworthy about this regional project is that goat production has been enhanced through strong public and private partnerships. It has attained its goals and, hence, other regions may derive some insights from it.
Dr. Jovita M. Datuin, the project leader and manager of Ilocos Integrated Agriculture Research Center (ILIARC), said -support from local officials was an important factor that led to its success.
To get their support, the officials were invited to a dialogue and consultation on participatory planning and briefing. In each project site, Dr. Datuin and DA technologists met with local municipal and barangay officials and farmer leaders to identify goat production problems that farmers encountered. From here, DA technologists laid out the proposed solutions, including technology interventions.
Later, the provincial and municipal LGUs assigned their permanent representatives in the local working group and then a training of trainers was conducted to enhance the capability of LGU technicians who were designated as focal persons in implementing the project.
The project started with a technology demonstration on goat production in six sites, which expanded later to 37 sites. In each site, the farmers went through a two-day training on goat production.
The training consisted of five modules: .goat housing, breeding and stock selection, goat husbandry practices, feeding and feed resources management, and health management. Technology leaflets were also given to farmers so that they would have references.
“The farmers were enrolled in two universities: the University of Positive Mental Attitude and the University of Learning Experience,” Dr. Datuin said to sum up what the farmers got from training program. Their negative perceptions on goat raising were changed positively as they started to consider goat production as a potential sustainable livelihood of rural families.
More importantly, the farmers went through a season-long farmers’ livestock school (FLS) (27 weeks) where their attitude, knowledge and skills on goat management were enhanced. The FLS concept too was used earlier in the CASREN project in Balungao, Sta. Barbara, and Calasiao, Pangasinan.
For this project, 37 FLS were conducted with the participation of 920 farmers in the following locations:
Balungao, Sta. Barbara, Alaminos City, Bani, Mangatarem, San Carlos City, Umingan, Urdaneta City, Mangaldan, Asingan, Basista, Sual, Alcala, Malasiqui, Bolinao, Mabini, Labrador, San N icolas, Bugallon, and San Jacinto, Pangasinan; Pugo, Tubao, Bagulin, Bauang, and Balaoan, La Union; Vigan City. Candon City, Sinait, Tagudin, and Galimuyod, Ilocos Sur; and Pinili and Laoag City, Ilocos Norte.
The farmers were also brought to various backyard and commercial goat farms in Regions I and III and in the Central Luzon State University to be, ame more familiar with the latest trends in goat production and appreciate technologies.
Amazingly, the project got considerable public support. At the provincial level, Pangasinan gave the highest financial support as follows: livestock upgrading, P1.74 million; small-scale dairy goat farming, PL675 million; veterinary medical mission, PLS million; breeding, P581,685; and rotational buck every two years, 10 head.
Ilocos Sur provided P1.621 million for goat upgrading in eight sites. From this amount, 98 breeder bucks were bought and given as loans to farmer beneficiaries. In Ilocos Norte, the provincial government shelled out P933,000 for goat upgrading and training in 17 sites. The La Union provincial government also shelled out money; it released P125,000 for goat upgrading in Bacnotan, Tubao and Naguilian.
Local government, on one hand, shouldered some of the financial requirements and assigned their agricultural technologists to the project. For the purchase of breeder bucks and does alone, which were loaned out to FLS graduates, the municipal and city governments spent a total of P3.75 million.
For each site, other expenses shouldered by the LGUs were: training, P10;000-P20,000; educational tours. P15,000-P25,000; conduct of FLS. P5,000-P10,000; drugs and biologics. P5,000-P10,000; forage seeds, P2,000-P5,000.
In a community action research project that complemented the goat development project, the Bureau of Agricultural Research also provided breeder loans in 19 barangays in Alaminos City, Mangatarem, and Sta. Maria, Pangasinan; Tubao, La Union; Candon City, Ilocos Sur; and Pinili, Ilocos Norte. A breeder loan consisted of eight upgraded breeder bucks per site to serve 200 does.
Furthermore, the Senate Committee on Agriculture provided and undisclosed amount for 12 expansion sites in La Union and Pangasinan with 129 beneficiaries.
Dr. Datuin said that in just a short time, the farmers adopted the technologies introduced to them. She sitessed that the livestock dispersal scheme of the government, which is actually a doleout system, was avoided because of its history of failures. Rather, capacity building empowered them with wisdom and right attitude, enabling them to easily adopt the new technology. And after a year, the total number of farmers who adopted the new technology increased by 74 percent.
Housing, deworming and upgrading were the top three technologies that were adopted. This indicates that the most important technologies are those that can solve high mortality (66 percent), high morbidity (50.5 percent), and slow growth. Mortality has decreased by 95 percent, while morbidity has been reduced by 83 percent.
Parasitic load and respiratory diseases were reduced by the adoption of elevated housing with stall feeding and regular deworming. Aside from chemical deworming, parasites were also controlled by late grazing and rapid rotational grazing. The most adopted technologies on feed supplementation were the use of tree legumes (ipil-ipil, katuray and camachile) and urea-molasses-mineral block.
They have also maximized their use of crop residues like rice straw, corn stalk, and corn cob and, hence, do not experience feed shortage during the long dry season which normally lasts for eight months in Ilocos.
Through the project, Dr. Datuin said; the farmers had a sense of worth and pride. “[They] have developed their potential as they gained knowledge on the new goat production technologies, inspiring other farmers to follow their example.”
The development workers have also gained much from the project; they were able to improve their knowledge, skills and became more competent in the extension delivery system. They are now inspired, motivated and strengthened to work better with passion and commitment. As a result, they have inspired farmers and convinced local officials to continue supporting worthy projects.
More importantly, “the development workers can now be proud to claim that service is the thing of most worth,” Dr. Datuin said.