MANILA, Philippines – Despite the challenges facing the swine industry, hog raising has been a profitable agricultural enterprise for Filipinos.
The P191 billion swine industry is the largest among the livestock and poultry industries of the country.
It is the second largest contributor to the country’s agriculture next to rice, accounting for 18.28 percent of the total value of agricultural production.
Swine production plays a major role in ensuring the country’s food security by providing about 60 percent of the total animal meat consumption of Filipinos.
The Philippine swine industry is ranked eighth in the world in terms of the volume of pork production and number of breeding sows. However, majority or two-thirds of the pigs in the Philippines are kept by smallhold pig raisers.
Despite being dynamic and technologically advanced, the local pig industry is still confronted with inefficiency of production due to low sow productivity, high mortality due to inefficient diagnostic tool, and lack of native pig genetic resource conservation, improvement and utilization initiative.
To ensure the continued growth of the hog industry, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) supported research and development initiatives for swine through the Industry Strategic science and technology program (ISP).
The program aims to address the current problems by developing technologies and systems that are expected to improve the productivity and production efficiency as well as increase the overall competitiveness of the Philippine swine industry.
In partnership with the Accredited Swine Breeders Association of the Philippines, the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) and Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) have developed the application of gene markers in breeding and selection of breeder pigs.
This activity has optimized 10 gene marker protocols associated to high litter size, fast growth rate and meat qualities as well as seven markers for screening of genetic defects and disease resistance.
The adoption of the gene marker technology by the swine breeder farms is expected to increase productivity and efficiency in terms of number of pigs weaned and liveweight produced per sow per year.
To address the problem on high mortality due to diseases, researchers from the Central Luzon State University developed six LAMP protocols for common swine respiratory and gastrointestinal pathogens causing diseases.
CLSU forged memoranda of agreement with three Regional Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratories of the Department of Agriculture institutionalizing the LAMP assays to be part of their routine diagnostic protocol.
A web-based group monitoring system for pigs was likewise established. The data/image transmitted can be viewed real-time using the desktop computer in the farm’s office.
Apart from this, a smartphone application was developed that could estimate body weight of pigs using captured images.
In response to the need to implement a pork traceability system from pen to plate, a computer software system was developed for tracking animals inside the farm and from the farm to the slaughterhouse gate using radiofrequency identification.
A DNA-based species authentication technology that can detect meat from pig, cattle, goat and horse, was likewise developed. – The Philippine Star