Mindanao is planning to boost its Wagyu meat production as part of the efforts to improve the region’s food self-sufficiency, a government official said.
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chair Emmanuel Piñol said five provinces in Mindanao will be identified to serve as pilot areas for the implementation of a cattle production program being initiated by his agency.
Each of the five pilot areas, he said, will start with at least 500 cows or female cattle to be purchased from local farmers for an artificial insemination program, which targets to introduce outstanding genetics like Wagyu.
Wagyu is a Japanese beef cattle used for the production of high-quality and flavorful meat. Because of the way it is raised, wagyu is more expensive than other types of steak.
Right now, there is already Wagyu beef production in northern Mindanao but it is only minimal.
Piñol said it is MinDA Livestock Consultant OFW Arnel Corpuz, who worked in a 50,000-head Wagyu Feedlot in Australia for 11 years, leading the team preparing the areas for this cattle program.
In general, the cattle program aims to encourage Local Government Units (LGU) in Mindanao to invest in food production projects to attain food self-sufficiency.
Piñol said that at least three provincial governors have already signified their interest in the project, including Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong, Jr., Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib, and North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco.
This, while two more provinces are being evaluated based on the availability of space for the establishment of a cattle breeding and fattening facility and the availability of forage materials.
Under the program, the Development Bank of the Philippines will be engaged to provide funding support to LGUs that will participate in the program.
At least 1,000 steers to be purchased from cattle-producing countries like Australia will start the 100-day cattle fattening program.
After the identification and validation of the pilot areas, MinDA, with the support of the Technical Skills and Development Authority (TESDA), will start a training program for workers in the Provincial Cattle Breeding and Fattening Facility.
Each of the pilot provinces will also establish processing facilities similar to the Halal Abattoir established by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Cotabato City, Piñol further said.
The latest from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the country’s total cattle production from October to December 2020 was estimated at 69,150 metric tons (MT), liveweight. This was lower by 7.6 percent relative to the previous year’s same quarter output of 74,850 MT, liveweight.
Among the regions, CALABARZON was the highest producer of cattle during the quarter with a production of 9,320 MT, liveweight.
This was followed by Northern Mindanao and Central Luzon with corresponding productions of 9,010 MT, liveweight, and 6,410 MT, liveweight.
These three regions shared 35.8 percent to the country’s total cattle production.
The average farmgate price of cattle for slaughter during the quarter was quoted at P126.55 per kilogram (/kg), liveweight. This was 8.1 percent higher than the average price of P117.04/kg, liveweight, in the same quarter of 2019.