Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Goat technology to go commercial

A consultation-workshop among stakeholders (R and D institutions and goat raisers) of the goat industry was held last June 20, 2007 at CLSU, Science City of Muñoz. The activity aimed at providing a deeper understanding of their commitment and concerns, was spearheaded by CLARRDEC through its director, Dr. Teotimo M. Aganon. The dialogue was participated in by 25 representatives from BASC, BPSU, CLSU, PAC, RMTU, TCA, DA RFU3, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija Provincial Government, and few goat raisers from the Science City of Muñoz.

A mutual understanding was forged between the stakeholders manifested by the exchange of vows: "Sa goat kita" and "In goat we trust," respectively.

Mr. Edwin C. Villar, director of PCARRD’s Livestock Research Division, presented the national R & D directions for goat. He emphasized that investments from all stakeholders can strongly bind the existing MU among technology generators, technology adopters and technology promoters. He said it can greatly help in addressing the problems on low production, limited supply and high cost of breeders, poor marketing system, and lack of institutional credit facilities. With the identified problems, he presented a number of science and technology interventions which include the commercialization of Multiple Ovulation and Embryo Transfer (MOET) and artificial insemination (AI). He also mentioned the production of 1000 30-doe level goat farms that would cater for breeder and slaughter goats within Central Luzon and its neighboring provinces.

Similarly, Dr. Emilio M. Cruz, director of Small Ruminant Center of CLSU, gave an overview of the SRC R & D Program that hinged on the national goal of having better source of income, meat and milk, and a robust commercial goat industry. He stressed the importance of using organic-based antiparasitic agents, and improved housing and feeding system in decreasing the mortality rate of goats due to diseases and parasites. The thrusts of SRC are: to decrease mortality rate to 25%, increase the reproduction efficiency to 10%, and increase the slaughter weight to 10%. The center will implement a four-point strategy i.e. partnership, genetic improvement, low-cost disease/parasite control, and extension service.

For her part, Dr. Ma. Asuncion Beltran of TCA inspired the participants by sharing the success story of the Farmer’s Livestock School on Integrated Goat Management (FLS-IGM) and of the Masinag Multipurpose Cooperative Inc. FLS-IGM is 28-week long "learning by doing" goat technology promotion strategy funded by DA-BAR. Masinag MPCI is an offshoot of the FLS-IGM.

In her presentation, Dr. Beltran asserted that the strategy has improved the farmers’ knowledge level on goat raising by 178%. She also reported a 15% increase in goat population in Tarlac, 405 decrease in goat mortality, 33% increase in women participation, and at least 200% increase in selling price per head of upgraded goats.

Through the FLS-IGM "basket of alternative technologies", the farmers have a number of options to take. These options are better practices in feed resource management, housing provision, herd health management, feeding system, breeding management, waste management, and marketing.

As they graduated, they also learned to optimize the use of their resources, they organized themselves into the Masinag MPCI which currently markets not only slaughter goats, but also feed concentrates for goat, forage seeds, organic fertilizer, and quality bucks. Dr. Beltran concluded "you goat to believe that goat is gold."

At the end of the workshop, the participants came up with a line-up of research and technology commercialization programs and projects. The four-point strategy of the SRC will be continually implemented for the identified projects.

The role of the LGUs was emphasized in goat upgrading through natural and artificial breeding. The national R & D centers like UPLB, CLSU and VSU will jointly work on the development of phytomedical products. On the other hand, the SUCs and DA centers in the region will promote goat farming and technology commercialization. CLSU will also take charge of genetic conservation.

After the workshop, it was clear among the participants that "Sa goat kita" means cost-sharing among technology generators and technology promoters as emphasized by Dr. Villar at the start of the consultation. "In goat we trust", as they agreed, refers to farmers’ hope and commitment to promote people empowerment via goat technology commercialization.