The Provincial Veterinary Office (ProVet) said it is stepping up its drive for artificial insemination (AI) of carabaos in different towns of Palawan to maintain its position as one of the major producers of carabao meat in the country.
Dr. Darius Mangcucang of ProVet said that an average of around 40 to 80 carabaos are shipped weekly from Palawan to the slaughterhouse in Manila for meat purposes.
It is despite the existing ‘7-11 slaughter ban’, which limits the age of carabaos to be slaughtered. As stated in the provincial ordinance no. 985, series of 2006, only carabaos older than seven years for males and eleven years for females can be slaughtered.
“Halos every week meron nailalabas pero may week na wala dahil walang barko. Minsan sa isang linggo may 40, may 22 o 18. Minsan dahil sa sama ng panahon o nasiraan ang barko– siguro bawat linggo may 80, minsan less doon,” he said.
“Wala naman problema (meat) kasi wala naman tayong notifiable disease dito. Di ba since then wala tayong FMD, hindi tayo nagkaroon kahit sa baboy ng cholera, ASF, wala tayong ganiyan. Ibang sakit naman na tuberculosis, negative din naman tayo, nagti-test din kami sa kalabaw at baka, ibig sabihin pwede natin ilabas ang mga hayop natin,” Mangcucang added.
The ProVet has no final data yet on the current inventory of carabaos in the province but learned from the ground that farmers with the most numbers of carabaos are indigenous people.
Carabaos usually help farmers in farming, transportation, and other activities. The existing breeds in the province are Indian Buffalo and Bulgarian carabao.
Aside from Palawan, the provinces of Mindoro and Marinduque also support the national market for carabao meat or carabao beef. The only difference is the two provinces do not have a ‘7-11 slaughter ban’, Mangcucang mentioned.
“Sabi ng mga shipper, ang mga netibo ang maraming alaga, panghila ng mga kahoy, palay, panghanapbuhay. Karamihan lalaki ang nabibenta, sa bawat shipment diyan, mas marami ang lalaki– pangkatay talaga ‘yan– Hindi lang naman tayo naglalabas ng kalabaw, pati mga Mindoro, Marinduque ay nagbibenta n’yan sa Manila,” he said.
The animal breeding program of Provet through AI activities is aligned with the contract between the Provincial Government of Palawan and the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC). The PCC distributes buffalo semen, while the ProVet conducts AI through its technicians.
Through strengthening AI activities in different towns, ProVet is confident that Palawan will have a sustainable population of carabaos.
He added that the market of carabao meat from animals of Palawan goes outside the province as the local market is not yet ready to embrace the carabeef.
“Ang mga taga-Palawan, hindi sanay sa kalabaw. Tatanungin pa sa palengke kung kalabaw o baka. Kapag sinabing kalabaw, ayaw nila, gusto nila baka. Hindi kasi sila sanay– Kailangan pa i-educate ‘yong mga tao,” he said.