By Salvacion Villasis
Aklan State University
Regional Applied Communications
On May 27, 2010, the Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center hosted the Science and Technology-based Farm (STBF) Field Day on Darag Native Chicken featuring the technology of Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) Margarito Andrade, farmer scientist of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC).
Some 90 darag native chicken raisers and recipients of the Darag native chicken project of the Local Government Unit (LGU) Banga and farmer adopters in barangays Mangan, Pagsanghan, Libas, Venturanza, Lapnag and Sigcay—including faculty and staff of Aklan State University (ASU) and members of LGU Banga—joined the Techno Gabay team leaders from member agencies in witnessing the exposition of MS Andrade.
During the field day, MS Andrade shared his experiences in STBF on Darag Native Chicken, specifically on artificial incubation, brooding and indigenous feeding. According to Andrade, his STBF seeks to produce quality hardened chicks and chickens; use indigenous feeds; produce quality native (darag) chicken breeders; and showcase a self-sustaining native chicken project in the locality.
To address these purposes, Andrade designed an Alternating Current-Direct Current (AC-DC) incubator that can be operated with regular electricity. More important, the incubator automatically switches to a 12-volt car battery in case of power outage. The incubator automatically switches to normal electric power when power resumes. This innovation certainly facilitates uniformity in the eggs being hatched—not to mention the quality of eggs produced because of uninterrupted incubation. To date, Andrade has designed five models of incubators with capacities from 385 to 1,980 of eggs per setting.
MS Andrade has also been using some indigenous feeds for the mature chicken such as the leaves of the Marande tree (Trichanthera gigantea), duckweeds and golden kuhol, among others. Based on Andrade’s experience, the Marande tree can be an alternative source of fodder since the leaves contains some 18 to 22% crude protein (CP) in dry matter. Whether fresh or dried, the leaves of Marande tree can be fed to animals like chickens. The tree can also be dried up and mixed with feeds to promote rapid growth and development in chickens, rendering favorable effect to their growth performance.
In the forum, concerns raised by the farmers such as pests and disease management in the native chickens were answered by Dr. Elsa I. Abayon, technical expert and Dr. Rosalina R. Atos of ASU School of Veterinary Medicine.
According to Dr. Anna Mae C. Relingo, WESVARRDEC Techno Gabay Coordinator, the Darag STBF seeks to address the needs of the darag native chicken raisers and the interventions that will increase production and their income.
Edilberto Macahilig, secretary to Banga Mayor Antonio T. Maming expressed support, stressing on climate change and its impact on livestock production.
Meanwhile, WESVARRDEC Director Joseph Edward O. Idemne stressed that the STBF was realized through the partnership and support of every partner institution. Primarily of Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) who established the concept. Idemne said that researches in science and technology are not only meant for the shelves, but for real people who must benefit from it.
Dr. Edwin C. Villar, PCARRD’s Director of Livestock Research Division said that the Council has been investing on the potentials of the Darag Native Chicken for quite a time in Region 6. Among all regions, Western Visayas is the only one that has recognized the native chicken as an important commodity. PCARRD is active not only in raising the darag native chicken but also in promoting it as an enterprise.
According to Villar, the STBF is PCARRD’s way of promoting the results of research investment that they have made. Through research they have seen that they can maximize productivity of the native chicken by using interventions like artificial incubation and brooding. PCARRD does not promote native chicken to compete with the traditional broilers—but considers it a special market in which poor farmers can participate to produce extensive products even for the rich.
Neither a techno demo nor merely about raising native chicken but on the effect of such an intervention, the STBF is essentially the kwento and the kwenta. Kwento is the story about what the farmer scientist did and the effect of his interventions and innovations, while kwenta must show that the interventions have given the MS additional income. If PCARRD sees some kwenta, after a certain amount of investment in the intervention, showing the income, then that completes the STBF story. Villar said that the field day is not the end of STBF. Rather PCARRD wants to have a second round of field day to validate whether what happened can be replicated in terms of kwenta.
Dr. Roberto L. Saladar, vice-president of ASU Research and Extension who represented Dr. Benny A. Palma, officer-in-charge of the ASU, expressed the role of the partner member agency—which is to support the project. Saladar also encouraged the farmers, saying that when there is “sipag at tiyaga,” there is development.