Despite a boost in the province’s information, communication and technology (ICT) industry and a surge in property development projects, livestock and poultry production has not dwindled, according to an official from the Department of Agriculture (DA) 7.
“The demand is still strong for meat and meat products, especially here in Cebu only that production is less,” DA 7 Livestock Coordinator Joel Elumba told.
The Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) 7 reported that as of January 2006, Central Visayas was among the top-producing regions in the cattle industry, accounting to a total of 261,699 heads.
Cebu ranked fourth among the country’s provinces, with 108,237 cattle heads, producing 179,229 metric tons of beef. The other top-producing provinces are Pangasinan and Batangas.
In the swine inventory, the region ranked fifth with 934,420 heads as of January this year, a 1.9 percent growth from the same period last year with only 916,890 heads.
Cebu accounts for 404,650 swine heads, ranking fifth among the provinces that are top producers of swine.
Provincial Agricultural Statistics Officer Melchor Bautista said backyard farming contributes to the province’s growth in the livestock industry.
Elumba reported that 300 to 500 heads of beef and goat are shipped to Manila per week.
He also cited a strong demand in the province’s poultry industry, including egg and broiler production.
“Around 70 to 80 percent of egg production in Central Visayas comes from Bantayan Island,” Elumba said.
In an earlier interview, agribusiness journalist Boyet Cortes said Bantayan Island alone generates close to 11 million poultry eggs in a day. These are being distributed in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Cortes said the province shows a “good demand” for gamefowl-raising used in derbies.
“We are not promoting gambling but gamefowl-raising is a multi-billion industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bautista said that because of a strong demand for livestock in the province, it is “unusual” for prices for meat and meat-produce to be relatively high.
Elumba, for his part, said the entry of livestock and poultry traders from neighboring provinces was due to the high prices of meat in the province.
“However, the increase in the price of meat is not that significant. It still falls on the limit,” he said.
An increase in the average farm prices of hogs for slaughter in the Central Visayas, specifically in Cebu, can be observed during the months of July to December, Bautista reported.
Elumba and Bautista both urged Cebuanos to venture into livestock-raising as the industry still shows a considerable demand.
On the other hand, Cortes acknowledged that the mass media plays a vital role in encouraging the people and reaching out to hog-raisers in remote areas.
Cortes is optimistic that programs like “Let’s Do Business,” which is a Cebuano agribusiness TV program, will encourage most people to engage in agriculture-related business, spurring growth in the sector.