LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (Feb. 14) — “If you want organic chicken, go native!” Dr. Miriam Tiongan of the Provincial Veterinary Office strongly espoused that the public to patronize native poultry for both their eggs and meat.
Tiongan and Dr. Jerry Sabado of the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR) appeared with Solraya Enterprises representatives during the Kapihan sa Benguet at the Benguet State University (BSU) on Valentine’s Day.
Experts talked on the advantages of raising native chickens for their meat and eggs as opposed to the popularly sold genetically-modified imported breeds.
Called the free-range Filipino chickens, the native fowl is facing extinction, that according to Sabado, the government would soon embark on a program to protect and preserve these birds.
Solraya is currently introducing the French full-feather brown chicken, a type of free- range chicken raised for both its meat and eggs.
Superior native breed
Tiongan guarantees consumers of the quality of eggs from native chickens bred and raised in the Cordilleras are superior in taste and freshness than those brought from the lowlands.
“It is not the size,” Tiongan added to differentiate between a fresh highland egg and a lowland egg that has travelled for days. She explained that the consistency of the egg white and yolk in itself is a testament of the eggs’ superior quality, saying the whites should not be watery and the yolk almost standing.
Sandy Itchon, marketing manager of Solraya Enterprises, distributor of the French Sunshine Chicken, noted that the selling factor of Sunshine chicken and eggs is the taste and the nutritional benefit.
Her husband, Solraya Proprietor Dr. Rey Itchon, explained further that poultry raised on the open grass field are high in beneficial fats, lower cholesterol and reduced exposure to degenerative diseases for the consumer. These birds feed on natural and organic commodities and requires only minimal medication than other poultry.
Native chicken threatened
Sabado cited the lack of vaccination against diseases as one of the main reasons why the number of native chicken breeds are steadily dwindling down. He names the Newcastle disease as the main culprit that causes native chicken to literally fall dead.
Newcastle disease is a highly contagious, generalised viral disease of domestic poultry and wild birds characterized by gastro-intestinal, respiratory and nervous failure.
Dr. Sabado also added that although the local government is making moves to protect these fowls, the plans may come to naught if farmers continually favour imported free-range chickens to the native breed.
Sabado implores Cordillerans to patronize the native chicken for its eggs and meat to help our kababayan alleviate hunger and nutrition in the region especially where statistics show that in Abra alone, 37,000 of 47,000 population were found to be malnourished.
Solraya claims that its Sunshine chicken brown eggs resemble the taste and consistency the native chicken boasts of. These chickens are raised in open range to forage on grass before they are harvested after 60 days for their meat, the Itchons claimed.# Romina Lou B. Martin for NORDIS