Organic Pig Production in the Philippines
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Organic Pig Production in the Philippines1
Karen Arangote Felices
A research paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements in English 110.
Organic Pig Production in the Philippines Karen Arangote Felices
Introduction Philippines is an agricultural country. Filipinos support themselves through agriculture. The country’s agricultural sectors namely: fisheries, livestock, farming and forestry, contribute a lot in the gross domestic product (GDP). A large portion of the Philippines are devoted for agriculture. Swine production or the technology applied to the keeping of swines for profit has been a very popular enterprise in the country such that a greater number of Filipinos have venture in backyard farming making the swine industry the second leading contributor to Philippine agriculture, coming in second to rice. According to Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, the local swine industry contributes about 83% of the total livestock production which is equivalent to almost 15% of the total value of agricultural production. Hogs produced are mostly from backyard farms and some are raised by commercial farms. As of January 2009, the total number of pigs is about 13.6 million herds, of which 71% and 29% are from backyard farms and commercial farms, respectively. In 2007, the total pork supply reached almost 1.7 million metric tons. Out of these total pork supply, 97% are produced locally and the remaining percent are imported. About 98% of the demand for swine production is for domestic food consumption. The remaining percent is processed into canned or processed meat.
With the increasing pork consumption and the decline in swine production due to diseases caused by pathogens such as ebola virus and bacteria Brachyspira hyodysenteriae, and the decreasing number of arable lands for agriculture, the need for an organic pig production arises. In organic pig production, hogs are raised on organic farms that participate in organic farming scheme. Organic farming does not allow the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Compared to conventional or traditional pig farms, organic pig farms restrict the use of antibiotics and other drugs. These drugs were only used under very controlled conditions. Feeds cannot contain GMO’s meat, bonemeal, animal fat, antibiotics, growth promoters or other drugs and preservatives. Also, pigs are allowed to roam outdoors. They have access to dry bedding and shelter. The production of organic pigs depends on many factors such as the production systems and its management. Like the conventional pig farming, organic pig farming has its own strengths and weaknesses. But with these, a lot of opportunities open. One of which is the need for organic farm markets thus organic pig production could be an easy success.
Statement of the Problem Organic pig production is a good enterprise and could be an easy success to would-be entrepreneurs. But shifting from conventional farming to organic farming creates transitional problems. It will take a while for the soil to adjust the loss of chemical nourishment due to the series of biological and chemical changes made. There are a number of problems that can occur in organic pig farming but there are more benefits that could be taken if the use of chemicals and GMOs are restricted.
In organic production, constraints like paradigm, career and financial constraints could arise. In addition to this, there could be a problem in labor and land allocation. Organic pig production is labor- and land- intensive. Moreover, with the fast growing population it could not feed a lot of people and its growth would lead to higher pork prices since organic products are more expensive. With this, low-income families and people in the third world would not be able to afford it. And so organic pig farming has a lot of competition with biotechnology since advocates of this technology claim that there is no other way that we can feed the world. The lack of support from the government for the researches and extensions has also been a problem for organic farming that produces too low yield to feed a growing population. In contrast, a number of studies showed that organic farming could increase food production levels and decrease degradation of agricultural soils.
Objectives of the Study The primary objective of this study is to determine the status of organic pig production in the Philippines. Also, this study aims to define and to explain terminologies related to organic pig production, to describe and to discuss how to efficiently raise swines in an organic farm, and to cite the importance of organically-raised swine.
Significance of the Study The study will be of great help to the university students especially to those who are majoring in animal science with specialization in swine production. This study will serve as an easy access of information. This also helps to identify some research gaps. Moreover, the study
may encourage readers and/or students to engage in organic swine production in their own backyard as a small scale swine enterprise.
Scope and Limitations A very few organic pig farms in the Philippines exist. There is a lack of support from the government for the extension and researches about organic pig production. Researches should be conducted. The researches should include investigations on different genotypes of swine, feeding regimes and feed utilization strategies, with assessment of their effects in health and welfare, reproduction and meat quality. With the production of organic pigs, “niche” markets are a great opportunity. Organic pork can be sold twice as the price of the pork produced conventionally. Also, there could be a fortune for feed companies that could offer organic feeds for swine.
Review of Related Literature Local and worldwide status of organic pig production About 26 million hectares are under organic management worldwide, of which 42.9 % in terms of the total area is managed organically by Oceania. Meanwhile, Latin America consists 34.0 % of the total number of organic farms. Among Asian countries, China topped the biggest area of land managed organically, with 298, 990 hectares. In 2005, the Philippines have a land area of about 3,500 hectares that are under organic management and consisting of about 500 organic farms.
Organic pig farming criteria For over the latest years, there has been a tremendous growth in numbers of organic farms, including livestock farms in Europe. Almost all of the countries in Europe have livestock products within their top five organic products. In some countries with a large over all pig production like the Philippines, the percentage of organically produced pigs is estimated to be “not detectable”. Food products like pork are labeled organic only when the standards for housing conditions, animal nutrition, and animal breeding as well as animal care, disease prevention, and veterinary treatment are met. These standards are very different from the way in which conventional pig production is managed and without a doubt, form a major constraint for many farmers who wish to shift to organic pig production. Organic pig production relies mainly on the management of internal farm resources rather than on external input. In relation to health management, the principle of organic pig production relies in preventive measures rather than on medical treatment. Basically, in organic pig farming quality production is ensured rather than in maximizing the production. Nutritional requirements of the hogs at various stages of their development must be met. Swine can only be fed on organically produced feeding stuffs, preferably from the farm itself. Young hogs are fed based on natural milk, preferably maternal milk for a minimum period required for hogs or swine. Also, roughage, silage and/or fresh or dried fodder must be added to the daily ration for pigs. Conventional feed materials of agricultural origin can only be used if they are prepared or produced without the use of chemical solvents. This means that soybean meal which is the most common protein source in animal nutrition cannot be used in organic feed. Antibiotics or any
other substance intended to stimulate growth production are not allowed in feeding. Use of GMOs is also not allowed in animal feeding. In organic pig farming, swine are allowed to perform their natural movements and behavior. Management methods should not interfere with animals’ body parts. This means that tail docking is not allowed but castration is allowed in order to reduce the aggressions in pens and during transport to ensure product quality. Organic pig production is associated with a high standard of animal health and welfare with a high degree of food safety. Pigs in organic production systems benefit from a low animal density and good possibilities for expressing normal behavior such as locomotion, foraging, exploration and nest building. Organic pig production also differs from conventional production in terms of feeding, access to outdoor areas, weaning age and use of preventive medication. Size of organic pig production Organic pig production as compared to other organic enterprise is small. And as compared to conventional pig production, production through organic farming is also small. This is partly because different production structures are difficult to translate number of pigs for pork production. Raising pigs organically Study conducted suggests the use of older breeds such as Berkshire, Large Black, Tamworth, Hampshire and Lacombe since these breeds were bred for specific purposes such as grazing orchards. However, older breeds can be too fat for consumer preference thus it would be good to combine the desirable traits of older breeds of sow and lean modern breed of boars such as Yorkshire, Landrace or Duroc.
Pigs have a single stomach which cannot easily digest cellulose. It is a must that forages for pigs should be leafy with less stems and straw. Older pigs can consume up to 70% leafy forages but young pigs should be given more of the high quality grain and protein. With these limitations, it is recommended that rotational grazing on high quality pastures supplemented with local grains and legumes be implemented in the farm. It has been concluded that good production results can be obtained in organic pig production. In relation to health, problems concerning control of endoparasites may occur, whereas lung health normally is very good. In relation to feeding of finishers, it is important to be aware of the risk of reduced fat quality if the diet includes more oil seed as protein source because of difficulties in using soybean meal (no GMO, no use of chemical solvents). It is also important to be aware of a reduced tenderness of the meat for finishers fed too restrictively. In relation to housing of finishers, systems established as a combination of a barn and an outdoor run give the possibility of obtaining very good production results and animal welfare. However, since the overall housing area needed for such systems is considerable, the costs of production are high and there seems to be a need for development of less capital-intensive systems. In relation to sows there is a need to establish systems where an effective reproduction can be obtained given the fact that weaning takes place at approximately seven weeks. In addition, there is a need to develop new grazing systems where the risk of environmental problems has been reduced. Conversion of existing herd of pigs Pigs that are managed under traditional or conventional ways can never achieve organic status. They can never be sold as organic product. However, non-organic sows can produce organic young stock when managed under appropriate conversion period. Non-organic sows are
referred to as converted breeding stock. In order to grow an organic piglet, a sow must be managed to full organic standards including housing conditions, animal nutrition, and animal breeding as well as animal care, disease prevention, and veterinary treatment. After this, piglets are born as organic on organic land. Piglets are raised and kept to full organic standards throughout their life in order to sell them as organic. The land best for organic pig production is the area with a low rainfall of about less than 800mm. Flat area is not necessary although it is an advantage for farrowing sows. Slopy sites and those areas recorded with heavy or high rainfall can lead to problems with soil erosion and animal welfare. Availability of water should also be considered during conversion of farms to organic methods. Pigs should have an unlimited access to water especially during hot periods in order to protect pigs from heat stress and sunburn. Studies recommend a rotational grazing for organic pigs. Pigs are not allowed to graze or stay on the same piece of land. With this rotational requirement, a large amount of area is needed for organic pig production. Organic pig production is labor intensive thus competent workers are needed in running the farm. Also, when venturing in this enterprise always make sure of the market.
Methodology Before engaging or converting or shifting from traditional or conventional way of pig production to organic farming, many factors have to be considered. Among these are the land, production system, labor units, management systems, and niche markets. Also,
consider the breeds of the pigs to raise. Organic pig production is very small as compared to conventional farming thus only a few literatures is available. There is a need to conduct researches and experiments. The
researches should include investigations on different genotypes of swine, feeding regimes and feed utilization strategies, with assessment of their effects in health and welfare, reproduction and meat quality.
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