Gov. Deogracias Victor “DV” Savellano of Ilocos Sur was most excited when we visited his free-range chicken dispersal project recently. He said he has been approached by a company that exports food products to Japan. The exporter, according to him, would like to buy some 20 tons of free-range chickens every month.
No doubt the exporter must have learned about the chicken dispersal project that the Ilocos Sur governor launched late last year. The ambitious project aims to disperse initially 100 chicks to selected growers per barangay. That alone would mean 76,000 Sunshine chickens since there are more than 760 barangays in the whole province. Sunshine chicken is a fast-growing breed from the Sasso Company in France which can be raised in the farmers’ backyards. They could subsist on grasses, vegetable trimmings, weeds, insects and locally available grains like rice and corn. Of course, they could also be partly fed with commercial feed. But for purposes of exporting to Japan, the commercial feed should not contain antibiotics.
As of the end of last January, the provincial government has dispersed more than 40,000 21-day-old Sunshine chicks. They are first brooded in the Barangay Demonstration Farm in San Juan town before they are given to the farmers so that they would already be sturdy enough to be released in the farmers’ yards. The dispersal continues and this could go on and on.