APAYAO, June 29, 2021 – Sheep production is booming in Luna, Apayao as the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program supported the livestock industry through a livelihood project.
The Upstream Livelihood Farmers’ Association (ULFA)
The Upstream Livelihood Farmers’ Association in Luna, composed of 158 members, is one of the SAAD-established farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) in the province.
The group was registered at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on July 17, 2017, composed of members from five barangays – Dagupan, Shalom, Bacsay, San Gregorio, and Salvacion.
In 2019, the group engaged in sheep production, where 54 members were initially chosen to be the first-in-line beneficiaries of the said project.
SAAD’s Sheep Production Project
Animal husbandry is raising and breeding domesticated livestock for meat, fiber, milk, and other products.
According to Wilfredo Rimando, a 57-year-old farmer, known as Manong Wilfredo, treasurer of the ULFA, animal husbandry has become the fastest-growing sector in terms of agriculture in Luna.
In 2019, the association received 29 sheep (25 ewes and four rams), supplemented with dairy feeds, forage seeds, biologics, and housing assistance worth Php 590,318.16. The project was proposed by the association after a community consultation.
Additional stocks were provided on August 26, 2020, comprising 50 ewes and one ram, with a package of sheep concentrates, mineral blocks, vitamins, wound spray, drencher, and galvanized wire. In total, the project cost was Php 1,044,850.
Each of the 54 first-in-line beneficiaries is a caretaker and was given at least one sheep.
Economics of Sheep Raising: Farming for Profit
Sheep production is a less-risky business that requires low initial capital. It requires small areas for housing because of their small body size compared to other livestock like carabao and cows.
After two years of breeding period, the 54 first-in-line beneficiaries increased their sheep production, resulting in 32 offspring (21 ewes and 11 rams).
With this, the association started to extend stocks to other five members, making them the second-in-line beneficiaries.
In summary, the group already raised a total of 79 sheep in the 2-year project operation. The group also follows the roll-over scheme where each of the first-in-line beneficiaries will disperse at least a head of sheep to the second-in-line beneficiaries until 158 members receive a stock.
Among the 54 members who are set as first-in-line beneficiaries, four raisers were cleared for the roll-over obligation, and made profits during the height of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 (Table 1).
Table 1. Sheep sales from 4 members of the ULFA
As part of the FCA’s policy, each member is obligated to pay at least Php 300 to the association for every sheep they traded. From the said sales, Php 3,000 went to the association.
Derived from the financial statement of the group, the total net income from January to December 2020 reached Php 6,667 with Php 8,263 as total expenditures.
ULFA chairperson Maxima Camayang looks forward to becoming a livestock multiplier hub and supplier in Apayao.
With the program’s goal of organizing the beneficiaries into market-driven entrepreneurs, ULFA members seek to promote their area as the “Sheep Capital of the North.”
This July, the set of remaining 49 2nd-in-line beneficiaries will be validated in terms of housing and pasturing area by the Community Development Officer and Project Development Officer in partnership with the Municipal Agriculturist Office to check readiness and feasibility of sheep raising.
As of May 12, 2021, the FCA was awarded Good Standing from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), certifying that their group is a legitimate labor union and workers’ association with 158 members who have completed the annual financial report of the fiscal year (FY) of 2020.
“Bilang maysa acting Livestock Coordinator iti babaen iti association mi kin representative iti livestock production, agyam yaman kami iti SAAD program ta naikkan kam oportunidad akas bilang nga sheep raisers. Isu tay kuna min nga arapaap mi nga grupo nga agbalin nga Sheep Capital of the North,” said Manong Wilfredo.
[As a Livestock Coordinator and treasurer of the association, I would like to extend our gratitude to the SAAD program for giving us the opportunity to enhance our capability as Sheep Raisers. Our group is hoping that one day, through our collective efforts as one association, our municipality will be known as the Sheep Capital of the North.] ###
Writer: Kathleen Faye B. Agonoy, Information Officer I, Province of Apayao
Republic of the Philippines Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Manila, Department Order No. 40-F-03 Series of 2008. Retrieved from: https://blr.dole.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/do_40-f-03_s2008.pdf