A top government official has urged local farmers to go into diversified farming to increase production.
“You have to go into diversified farming,” said Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs Ernesto Gonzales during the Livestock Forum & Public Consultation recently as he took note of the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak that has affected three barangays in the city.
Community Assisted Diversified Farming is a self-sustaining farming method where in a community, farmers are encouraged to do different types of farming such as poultry, fishery, and rice planting instead of focusing on one type of farming each community.
“So if wala ang baboy ko, meron akong manok, meron akong gulay, meron akong maliit na fish pond, it’s okay,” Gonzales said as he pointed out that diversified farming allows a cycle where it produces zero waste and there is no need to wait for investment in inputs like fertilizer since everything becomes a cycle.
For example, in a community, one could raise a certain livestock while another plants to feed that animal and the waste produced by that animal can be used as a fertilizer or can be used as compost.
Through this method of farming, there is more revenue for the community since more demands are met, Gonzales said.
He, however, said that patience is necessary as that diversified farming is not something that happens overnight as it takes long before a community can complete the cycle.
But he added that since it is sustainable, it is worth the wait as it also provides other livelihood options for farmers who need the profit as soon as possible while the diversified farming is still growing.
At present, they have already implemented the project, specifically the coconut and cacao-base, in Luzon and they are planning on expanding especially in Mindanao.
“In fact, priority ko ang Mindanao dahil taga-Davao ako,” Gonzales said, “we do it one at a time, ang naisip ko dalawa o tatlong projects: industrialized chicken, diversified high value crops—sabay natin yung manok at tsaka gulay kasi yung waste ng manok, abuno yun sa gulay, tapos yung gulay naman ipapakain sa manok, ikot siya.”
When asked about how diversified farming could affect the supply of live pig and its by products, Gonzales said that it might if it is not controlled.
However, he downplayed the impact of the ASF on the hog producers in the country. “We have more than 12 million pigs throughout the Philippines, ang na-condemn lang is around 250,000. Sa 250,000, 20% lang doon ang may ASF,” he said.
Supply-wise, Gonzales believes that the ASF is not much of an impact to the hog industry.
He added that it is the fear of the people the epidemic larger than expected, but they shouldn’t worry as long as they follow the measures provided by the government.