Barrel-like body balanced on top of four long slender legs. Black hair arranged in bristles. Tusks curling out of its mouth, kept sharp and nice.
Just hearing its grumble shattering the silence, one would instantly feel the cold air pressing into his body knowing that this creature is in full alert, ready to defend itself as it senses danger.
Wild as they are, how would one think that these boars can be a good source of food and bucks?
Getting the 'wild' idea
|Mr. Rufino Legayo (left) of Natividad, Pangasinan discusses with BAR Asst. Dir. Teodoro Solsoloy how he produces, safer, leaner, and more nutritious pork from baboy-ramo.|
Producing safer, leaner and more nutritious pork is the first thing that entered the mind of Mr. Rufino M. Legayo of Natividad, Pangasinan, which lured him to start his baboy ramo farming in 1996. Mang Boy, to his family and folks, went to America in 1988 for a vacation. The term "organic vegetables" grew on him as it is gaining popularity in US at the time. While organic farming and organic vegetables were hitting the market, he noticed that something is lacking. He thought of how these mere organic vegetables could satisfy the taste buds of those meat (particularly pork) lovers who were also health-conscious. And that is how the idea of producing "organic pork" popped up in his mind.
Starting wild begets wild surprises
Few years after the conception of the idea, Mang Boy started the business by capturing a female baboy ramo from the Pangasinan wild. The wild sow was so difficult to handle so it was crossed with a black native boar for easier domestication.
"Their progenies were still aggressive and could easily jump their way out of the waist-high fence, but rather more manageable in closed fences than the parent baboy ramo," explained the wild boar farmer.
Resembling the features of a wild boar except that they were a bit tamer, the raised progenies were lot smaller than commercial swine breeds. Marketability of these baboy ramo was often judged based on the standards of the swineherd and the preference of the buyers. However, they were usually raised for more than a year, sold mostly to Chinese customers for ? 250/ Kg dressed meat, a value higher than those of commercial pork in the market.
"A live hog only weighing 20 Kg can be sold up to ? 6, 000," Mang Boy said. "It is popularly used for lechon de leche during fiestas and the meat as main ingredient in special recipes among restaurants in the metro."
Its expensiveness is said to reflect the boar's leaner, tastier, and healthier meat
Though the wild boar meat commands a higher price in the market, it does not mean that it also requires higher cost of production. In fact, according to Mang Boy, these wild creatures are high profit generators even if kept in a less ideal condition.
"During the dry season, the herd of pigs is set free to roam around the farm area and look for their own food," he said. "Among their favorites are the roots of cogon."
Only in the late afternoon that their diet is supplemented with a ration of samak leaves from the backyard mixed with rice bran and corn grits bought in the market in 1:1:1 proportion for only 6 kilos of the ration for the 30-head herd per day. They are also less susceptible to diseases compared to commercial swine breeds.
Having a short farrowing interval and an average of six to ten piglets per litter, Mang Boy was able to market countless baboy ramos for over a decade. Some of them were given to farmers who wished to venture in the same business, leaving him a total of 30 hogs as of press time.
Hoping for a 'wild' future
The wild boar farmer expressed his enthusiasm for cooperation with the Bureau of Agricultural Research in his objectives of making his small farm a demo farm for baboy ramo production, a multiplier farm for breeder stocks and a focal farm for its commercialization. "I'm aspiring for Natividad, Pangasinan to be known for large-scale baboy ramo production," he further disclosed.
In return, BAR Assistant Director Teodoro Solsoloy extended the agency's willingness to support, urging the farmer to pass first a project proposal.
Although his practices is not a convincing organic farming as he claimed, the exotically luscious meat and rewarding returns generated from baboy ramo production makes it a promising venture and an alternative for commercial hog raising especially for small-scale livestock farmers.