Saturday, January 31, 2009

Our Travels

For the past so many years, we have been travelling to various parts of the Philippines and on some occasions to other countries. Foreign countries we have visited include Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, China, India, Malaysia, United States, Nepal, Germany, Japan, Indonesia and Australia. Our main purpose is to meet successful agri-people who have practical and creative ideas that we can share with readers of our stories in print, and attendees of lectures and seminars we occasionally conduct. And now, we can share these bright ideas with visitors of this web site.

In Ilocos Sur. We visited Ilocos Sur on Nov. 8, 2008 when Gov. D.V. Savellano launched the province-wide dispersal of Sunshine Chickens from Solraya Enterprises owned by Dr. Rey and Sandy Itchon. We visited Ilocos Sur again on January 26, the first day of the Year of the Ox, and the very day we decided to start our blog. That time, some 5,000 Sunshine Chickens were dispersed.

What's Sunshine Chicken? This is a breed from the SASSO Company of France. Sunshine is the brandname given by Solraya to the chickens they are distributing in the Philippines. They imported parent lines to produce the chicks they are selling. There are several parent lines from SASSO which are used to produce the first generation (F1) chicks. These F1 chicks are meant for meat and egg production only, and not for breeding purposes because the second generation chickens when bred will not produce the same good results.

The F1 Sunshine Chickens are fast-growing and hardy. They can subsist on grasses, vegetable trimmings, and grains available on the farm. For faster growth, they could be fed with commercial feeds combined with green feeds and grains from the farm. One farmer in Sinait, Ilocos Sur, Remy Basuel, fed his chickens with greens, corn grits and commercial feed. After taking care of the chicks he got at the age of 21 days (they were brooded for three weeks before they were dispersed), his male Sunshine Chickens weighed three kilos after 61 days of raising them (November 28, 2008 to January 26, 2009).

Lasang Native. The good thing about Sunshine Chickens is that they taste like our native chickens. That's why consumers prefer to buy them.

The Dispersal Scheme. Under the Ilocos Sur dispersal scheme, at least 100 chicks are initally given to recipients in one barangay Since there are more than 760 barangays in the province, that would mean at least 76,000 chicks will be eventually dispersed. The recipients don't pay in cash. They get the chicks and raise them in their homes. When they are ready for market after taking care of them for two months or so, the recipient returns 8 full-grown chickens for every 100 chicks received.

At first, many were skeptical about the dispersal scheme. But when they saw that the Sunshine Chickens were really hardy and fast-growing, many of the nn-recipients also wanted to raise them. Some opted to buy their chicks from Solraya without waiting for the chicks dispersed by the provincial government.

Money-Making Opportunity: Ready-to-Range Sunshines. One fellow who has seen a money-making opportunity is Kagawad Henry Anunciacion of Sinait, Ilocos Sur. He observed that many people in his province would like to raise Sunshines. But they don't have the expertise to raise the day-old chicks which are quite delicate to handle. It would be better for them to start raising chicks that have been brooded for three to four weeks. By that time they will have fully-feathered and are already hardy. And so Henry has come up with his "Ready-to-Range Sunshines". He buys the day-old chicks for PHP35 and selld them at PHP60 later on.

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