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Big potential in Iloilo for colored fowls

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By Zac B. Sarian

  • BROWN EGG LAYERS – Eddie Cañuto smiles as he poses with his flock of black Rhode Island layers. The more than a thousand layers give him 700 to 800 brown eggs daily which his son Jonathan sells for R12.50 apiece. The fowls are fed with antibiotic-free mash in the early morning and late afternoon. In between, the birds are given a ‘snack’ of grasses and chopped banana trunk. That cuts the cost of feeding.

  • JOSEPHINE BAYOMBONG, above, manages Tatoy’s Manokan & Seafoods main branch in Iloilo City. She says they need 600 native chickens every day. At right is the brown eggs produced by Eddie Cañuto of Ephrathah Farms in Badiangan, Iloilo City which sell at P12.50 apiece.

  • SPECIAL SINAMAK – Noel and Gail Bangeles show their special Sinamak which is perfect for dipping grilled native chicken and meat. To make this special Sinamak, they use two-year-old coconut vinegar, a lot of siling labuyo and langkawas ginger. One bottle sells for 80 pesos.

  • FAVORITE INASAL – Photo shows native chicken Inasal served at Tatoy’s Manokan & Seafoods Restaurant in Iloilo City. Because of its popularity, the restaurant which has three branches needs some 600 native fowls, Darag, every day. The fowls which weigh about a kilo each are bought at P240 apiece. Supplies are sourced not only from Iloilo raisers but also from Antique and Guimaras Island.

  • DARAG IN BIG DEMAND – Here’s a money-making opportunity for enterprising poultry raisers in Panay Island. There is a big demand for Darag, the native strain from Panay which is famous for its unique taste. For financing, raisers with limited capital might as well take advantage of the PLEA program of the Department of Agriculture. This is Production Loan Easy Access which does not require any collateral and with only 6 percent interest per annum. Borrowers can borrow P5,000 to P50,00 payable in two to 10 years.

    Eddie Cañuto is an engineer-turned-leisure farm operator who knows how to spot a project that pays well. He is the founder of Ephrathah Farms in Badiangan, Iloilo which boasts of various money-making projects. One of them is over a thousand layers of the black Rhode Island chicken that produces brown eggs.

    Why does he like this brown-egg laying chicken? Because its eggs sell more than double the ordinary white leghorn eggs. He sells each at R12.50 apiece. And from the flock of over a thousand layers, he collects 700 to 800 eggs daily.

    The fowls roam in a net enclosure where they can pick small creatures in the ground as part of their daily meal. In the morning and in the late afternoon, the birds are fed with antibiotic-free feed. In between, they are given grasses and chopped banana trunk as their “snack.” That lowers the cost of feeding.

    Eddie’s son Jonathan is a marketing genius who can sell all the eggs at the premium price together with the many other products that they produce in their 16-hectare diversified farm that has become a tourist destination. Eddie’s new plan is to produce a broiler type of colored chicken. He believes that this could also become a bestseller in Iloilo.

    DARAG IN BIG DEMAND – Enterprising people in Iloilo might as well take a good second look at the prospects of producing Darag, the native chicken in Panay, in really big numbers to meet the big demand. It is one project that might as well be undertaken with collateral-free financing from the Department of Agriculture’s PLEA program.

    PLEA stands for Production Loan Easy Access which charges just 6 percent interest. It is administered by the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC). Loans range from R5,000 to R50,000, depending on the project, payable in two to 10 years.

    There’s really a big demand for native chicken in Iloilo City alone. On May 11, 2018 we interviewed Josephine Bayombong, manager of Tatoy’s Manokan & Seafoods, a favorite restaurant with three branches in Iloilo City founded by Honorato Espinosa. Josephine is his daughter.

    Josephine revealed that they need an average of 600 native chickens every day. Because no one can supply the demand from Iloilo, they have to source some of their requirements from Antique and Guimaras Island. They buy the fowls by the piece at R240 each, weighing about a kilo.

    Arsenio “Toto” Barcelona of Harbest Agribusiness who is also a member of the governing board of PCAARRD, said that PCAARRD has a project aimed at purifying the Darag to come up with fowls with uniform size and feather pattern. What is needed is to develop more breeders and more hatcheries to promote mass production of Darag.

    One possible strategy to cut cost of production would be to promote EM (Effective Microorganism) and Bokashi supplemental feeding. This could be done by using fine (D1) rice bran fermented with molasses.

    ANOTHER SPECIAL CHICKEN – Noel Bangeles and his wife Gail are also farming enthusiasts who are developing a four-hectare property in New Lucena, a fourth class town in Iloilo.

    Noel is an immigration officer at the Iloilo airport by night and a farmer by day. His wife Gail, a former television host, on the other hand, is now with a well known hotel chain. She finds time working with her husband on the farm when she is not at the hotel doing her job.

    One of the couple’s pet projects is multiplying the chicken called “Ulikba”. This is the strain with black flesh. Because it is calimed to have medicinal attributes, the Ulikba commands a high price, especially among the Chinese. From just a few breeders some months back, Noel said he has already more than 300 of different ages.

    Although their farm is still in its early development stage, visitors are already visiting the place to partake of the good food and the ambiance of a rural setting. Noel has concocted a special “Sinamak” consisting of two-year-old coconut vinegar, a lot of siling labuyo and langkawas ginger.

    DUCK EGGS FOR LECHE FLAN – Enrico Mora, a Zambales native who married an Ilongga, runs a small diversified farm in Sta. Barbara with his wife Jocelyn. What he is so proud about is his small business of making leche flan using his own duck eggs. With eight duck eggs plus condensed milk and sugar, he can make three “llaneras” of leche flan which sell for a total of R390. He said that the cost of raw materials is just a little over a hundred pesos, so there’s good value-adding here. He only makes his leche flan by order. Through words of mouth, he is making good business.

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