Caption: The Siquijor Native Cattle found to have good qualities for both meat and dairy. (Photo from pgc.up.edu.ph)
SIQUIJOR – "It is not just any beef but a healthy beef.”
This is how the Provincial Veterinarian, Dr. Bernardita Tabada of Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO)-Siquijor described the meat of the native cattle in Siquijor so that both the national and the provincial government have poured out investment to raise its potential.
In a report by PIA-Region 7, Tabada said native beef is one of the best meat based on scientific findings, as most of the cattle are grass-fed.
Genetic studies show the meat of grass-fed cattle are lean and tender and has a moderately full flavor, she said.
Siquijor's native cattle strain, known as Bos taurus, is suitable for Siquijor's weather condition because of its high tolerance to heat and low water requirement and easily adapts to the environment.
Tabada said it is very important to enrich the production of cattle and the processing of the meat to help the breeders raise their income and for the province to export quality meat globally.
"We want to help our native cattle raisers to earn and raise their income through processing and we have one in Catulayan, San Juan, Siquijor,” she added.
She said most of the raisers in Siquijor find it difficult to sell their cattles because the island has no processing facility.
Through the processing facility, she said, raisers can sell and cater to the needs of the resorts.
Likewise, the provincial government of Siquijor is constantly working to realize the vision of the cattle industry in Siquijor.
According to the Provincial Commodity Investment Plan of Siquijor for Cattle and Beef, a total of P119,617,265 will be invested in the cattle industry, of which P23,128,000 has already been invested by the provincial government and different line agencies.
There are five processes in the development and management of the industry— raising, trading, processing, feed resource development and management, and breeder stock development.
Recently, the Department of Agriculture (DA) dispersed 167 heads to local breeders under the Livestock Enhancement Program of the DA and Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU).
Also, P5.2M was invested to Catulayan Multi-purpose Cooperative for Beef Choice Cuts Marketing and Enterprise and P5.6M for Cattle Fattening and Marketing Enterprise or cattle production.
Bidding is also ongoing for the establishment of the P29M AA slaughterhouse in Nonoc, Larena and constantly deliberating with the World Bank for approval.
The PLGU also plans to build a multiplier farm in the island to accommodate all breeders who want to raise native cattle and other raisers to buy, inseminate or breed.
Tabada also said the construction of the Native Cattle Semen Laboratory, funded by DA is ongoing and set to operate next year.
However, the PVO will still send their technicians to Bukidnon to train them how to extract semen from male cows.
In order to reproduce cattle faster, they need to extract semen from male cows and perform artificial insemination (AI) but nobody in the island knows how to do it.
In addition, the industry is also conducting forage and pasture development and utilization due to lack of grazing grounds in the island and is also investing P67M for the implementation of Water Management Project for irrigation.
More importantly, an ordinance for the Conservation and Protection of Siquijor Native Cattle is now aimed to preserve pure breeder stocks is now also finalized for enactment.