By Zac B. Sarian

In farming as in any other business, you need friends for various good reasons. Friends you can depend on when challenges confront you or friends you can share the good news as they come.

There are very reliable persons both in government and the private sector that could be your best friend, depending on the particular agri sector you are interested in. For instance, if you are interested in native chickens, ducks and native pigs, one fellow you should befriend is Dr. Synan Baguio of the Philippine Council of for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARD) of the Department of Science and Technology.

Why? Because he is currently the Supervising Science Research Specialist and OIC of the Livestock Research Division of PCAARD. As such, he can tell you about the latest developments like the Itik Pinas, native strains of chickens and native as well as conventional pigs. Regarding Itik Pinas, he can tell you that it was developed by government researchers funded by PCAARD and that this improved breed produces more eggs and with longer productive life from the old strain.

Maybe, you are looking for possible sources of duck eggs because you need them for making “balut” or salted egg. Well, he can tell you where the big duck raisers are. One example is a really big duck raiser in Candelaria, Quezon. There are also others in Nueva Ecija and other places. And if you are looking for sources of ducklings, we are sure he would be most helpful, too.

In the private sector, a good bet to befriend is the feed company that makes duck feeds. They are the best people who know who are the successful raisers of ducks. The technicians of the feed company can also be very helpful in providing the production protocol in duck raising.

Back to Dr. Synan Baguio. This time on native chickens. Earlier this year, Dr. Baguio made a very comprehensive presentation on the status of the native chicken industry at the Agribiz Kapihan. It has a very big potential but there are challenges that have to be addressed. There is a big demand for native chickens because of its special taste but the supply has always been short. One well known restaurant in Iloilo needs at least 600 native chickens a day which it pays a good price but the supply has always been short.

One good news is that the “Darag,” the native chicken of Panay has been purified. What does that mean? Well, through a series of judicious selection of breeding and rebreeding, the Darag has become stabilized, meaning the birds are more or less uniform in plumage, size and other characteristics. This is very important for commercial production so that the dressed chicken for sale in the market are of the same size, same age and therefore uniform in quality.

What should be done now? Maybe, a serious investor should get Dr. Baguio as adviser in putting up a big hatchery for the purified Darag so that the farmers, small and not-so small, have a source of grow out chicks whenever they are needed.

Now you see how Dr. Synan Baguio can be a most important friend for those who are interested in native chickens, improved ducks, and native pigs. We know Dr. Baguio is a most accommodating scientist who is witty and also has a good sense of humor. In other words, he is very approachable and friendly.