Native animals are considered as an important component of most agricultural production system in the rural areas. They augment food supplies, provide high quality protein food and source of livelihood. One of these animals, which is common in the Philippines, is the native pig.
A native pig is a product of indiscriminate crossbreeding between domesticated wild pigs and introduced breeds of pigs. After a long process of natural selection, it has evolved into a group that is able to survive and reproduce under natural environments even with minimal human interventions.
Through a process of natural selection, the native pig has developed unique patterns of behavior that enhances its fitness to local conditions and resilience to extremes of climatic occurrences. Its meat has also developed a unique taste and texture that is preferred and paid a premium price by consumers.
Native pig provides much importance in terms of additional income, high quality protein food, and socio-cultural and economic services, particularly during cultural celebrations and ceremonies.
Other important characteristics of native pig are its adaptability to local environment conditions; apparent resistance to diseases; and the unique texture and taste of its meat. These are enough reasons to invest on research and development (R&D) initiatives to improve the country’s native pig.
R&D investments on native pig breeding are geared towards enhancing the potentials of the said animal as a source of livelihood for small rural dwellers, raw materials for the production of pork-based ethnic delicacies, and of genetic materials to respond to changing consumer demands and to climate change.
Towards these goals, R&D activities on native pigs are being conducted to establish breeding true to type populations that are uniform in physical characteristics with predictable production performance and consistent product quality. R&D activities also aim to improve production performance and product quality while conserving the adaptability traits and maintaining genetic diversity.
Ongoing R&D activities on Philippine native pig include their phenotypic and genetic characterization, breeding and selection, free range native pig production management, forage production, and marketing studies.
Seven genetic groups of native pig are currently being developed and named after the provinces where they originated such as Kalinga, Benguet, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Bondoc Peninsula, Marinduque, and Sinirangan.
Certain differences, which are observed in these native pig groups are currently being studied. These are coat color and patterns, body conformation, mature body size, behavior, and genetic distances.
Current R&D activities on organized breeding and selection of native pigs so far have achieved high uniformity in physical characteristics of pigs produced, increase in litter size, and increase in growth rate.
The fruits of these R&D activities will be delivered to target beneficiaries through technology transfer and extension activities by the implementing agencies. Improved native pigs will also be made available to partner farmers and entrepreneurs through these agencies.