By Vina Medenilla
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on nearly all industries, including agriculture. Despite the difficulties, the native chicken sector has proven its resiliency and competitiveness over the past few years.
This is why the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) puts an emphasis on this sector through their banner programs.
This includes Farms and Industry Encounters through the Science and Technology Agenda (FIESTA).
The purpose of this event is to empower farmers and fisherfolk and improve their livelihood as well as to amplify and transfer technologies, innovations, and breakthroughs of Philippine agriculture.
Now in its 11th year, FIESTA 2022 focuses on the promotion of three native chickens, namely Darag, Boholano, and ZamPen.
This year’s theme is titled “PADAYON: Sustainable economy amidst pandemic through native chicken technology.”
It is spearheaded by DOST-PCAARRD, along with its three R&D consortia: Western Visayas Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVAARRDEC), Western Mindanao Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESMAARRDEC), and Western Mindanao Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESMAARRDEC).
“If Japan has Wagyu and Kobe beef, the Philippines can also be known for its Darag, Boholano, and ZamPen native chicken—breeds that are more distinct and more savory than commercially-available chicken meat,” said DOST Region VI director Rowen R. Gelonga in his speech during the opening ceremony.
He goes on to say that by adding value to these breeds, local farmers will be able to earn more money and thus contribute to economic development.
PCAARRD invites the public to participate in this year’s activities, including competitions under categories such as TikTok, poster making, branding, and cooking.
There will also be forums, games, and webinars during the month-long celebration, which will be a hybrid of virtual and offline events per region.
Before all that, let’s take a quick look at the main highlights of the show:
Darag is a chicken native to Western Visayas where they are found in large numbers. Its development began in Iloilo City.
This native chicken is considered a flagship commodity of the Philippines. It is grown for its unique taste, texture, lower fat content, and presence of pharmaceutical compounds.
It has a fertility rate of 81 percent and a hatchability rate of 73 percent. One darag hen can produce 110 eggs per year.
ZamPen is a breed named after the Zamboanga peninsula, where it originated.
Because it was developed locally, the ZamPen is said to be disease resistant and adaptable to the local environment.
It has an 83 percent fertility and 78 hatchability rate to date. The egg production of this breed has increased through the years, now producing about 115 eggs per hen a year.
Boholano native chicken, from its name, is from Bohol. It is said to have a 63 percent fertility and 76 percent hatchability rate.
At the time of writing, the production of a hen is 62 eggs per year.
These native chickens not only provide a source of income for backyard growers and farmers, but also contribute to food security and the production of value-added goods.
For more information about the program and activities, visit this website.