Addressing the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) launches its initiative on “Manok at Itlog sa Pamayanan,” which is one of the subcomponents of “Pagkain at Kabuhayan” under the GALING-PCAARRD Kontra Covid-19 program.
This is following the launch of the Good Agri-Aqua Livelihood Initiatives towards National Goals-PCAARRD (GALING-PCAARRD) Kontra COVID-19 program launched on April 29, 2020.
Manok at Itlog sa Pamayanan aims to provide communities affected by the pandemic with livelihood options through raising duck, native chicken, and commercial broilers and layers.
Project under Manok at Itlog sa Pamayanan
One of the projects under this subcomponent is “Distribution of Duck Eggs and Day-old Ducklings from DOST-funded projects to augment food supply and income during the pandemic.” Implemented in Regions 3, 4A, 6, 9, 11, and 12, the project dovetails with an ongoing DOST-funded program called ITIK for LIFE.
The project gives duck farmers access to the new duck breed, ItikPINAS (IP) and capacitates them to be able to venture on duck egg production and marketing. This venture further aims at commercializing the breed and making quality IP ducklings and egg products available in the market. These IP lines are strains of native egg-laying ducks, genetically superior to “Pateros” ducks, developed through years of breeding and selection by a research project funded and monitored by DOST-PCAARRD.
Participating agencies in the program are Central Luzon State University (CLSU), the Bureau of Animal Industry-National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center (BAI-NSPRDC), West Visayas State University (WVSU), Western Mindanao State University (WMSU), Department of Agriculture- Regional Field Office 11 (DA-RFO XI), and Sultan Kudarat State University (SKSU).
Egg distribution under the project
Duck eggs produced from DOST-funded projects to augment food supply and income during the pandemic in participating regions were continuously inventoried and packed by the project team from their institutional farms for distribution to affected communities and frontliners. Selected barangays in the municipalities of Muñoz and San Jose, Nueva Ecija and in Tiaong, Quezon (in Luzon); Pavia, Ajuy, Jaro, Badiangan, and Calinog, Iloilo (in Visayas); San Ramon in Zamboanga City, Tugbok in Davao City, Bagumbayan in Sultan Kudarat, and Surallah in South Cotabato (in Mindanao) benefited from the duck egg distribution.
A total of 26,940 eggs generated from farmers and from institutional flocks in the six regions were distributed through the program. These were valued at P5.30-P6.10 per piece. Although lower by P1.25-P1.50 from the prevailing market price, farmers willingly gave their produce to the project team to be donated to frontliners and needy communities. Some benevolent farmers in Surallah, South Cotabato even gave their eggs for free to the project as their way of showing support and appreciation to frontliners in their communities.
Duck raising as a steady source of income
Violeta and Carmelo Tamanal, farmer cooperators from Brgy. Daguma, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat, expressed their worries during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) implemented on March 15. “I was concerned that we will lose our income due to COVID-19. How will we survive?” said Carmelo Tamanal in Filipino. This was agreed upon by Violeta, who said that duck raising is their only source of income.
This was the general sentiment of Filipinos during the ECQ. However, ITIK for LIFE farmer cooperators have been trained on proper duck raising by the project leaders before they were given ducklings.
According to Michael John Benavidez, ITIK for LIFE Coordinator in Region 12 and faculty of the Sultan Kudarat State University (SKSU), Violeta and Carmelo Tamanal were two of the 10 farmers selected at the start of the program in 2017. They were trained on duck raising and egg production and were given 300 female and 33 male ducklings.
“ItikPINAS was a huge help for us to earn even during ECQ. Price of duck eggs dropped during ECQ, but we had funds for our daily needs,” said Carmelo Tamanal in Filipino.
Meanwhile, Ella Somblingo, another farmer cooperator from Zamboanga City, said her family earns P2,685/day or P80,550/month from the balut and salted eggs their family makes and sells to their vendors.
ItikPINAS also helped Regie Formacion, farmer cooperator in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, provide for his family’s daily needs. He said that he is thankful that amid the pandemic, he can still earn through duck raising.
Continuing the project in the new normal
After the general community quarantine (GCQ) is lifted, the Distribution of Duck Eggs and Day-old Ducklings project will shift to distribution of day-old ducklings to communities to serve as source of livelihood and help ease their transition to the new normal.
Qualified farmers or at least 10 families per region will be selected from the six implementing regions of the project and will be given ducklings to start or augment their duck raising and egg production business.