Rep. Edward Hagedorn of Palawan’s 3rd District is hosting a farmers’ forum in Aborlan town to explore the possibility of transforming the province into a food tourism destination in the Philippines.
The forum’s purpose is to introduce farmers to other agricultural opportunities, including the raising of cattle that produce Wagyu beef and native manok meat production.
Former agriculture secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol, who has been invited to give a lecture at the forum by Rep. Hagedorn, said in a post that he will present Palawan’s endless prospects in agricultural production that can be explored, including the offering of Wagyu, the world’s most expensive beef.
Farmers from Palawan will attend the forum, which will feature American sorghum experts led by CEO Coby Kriegshauser of Scott Seed Company and cattle fattening specialist Arnel Corpuz.
“In my lecture in the Farmers Forum in Aborlan, Palawan today, I will present the endless potentials of the rich and huge island in food production which could turn it into a Food Tourism Destination, offering one of the most expensive beef in the world at low prices,” Piñol stated Thursday morning.
Wagyu could be produced in Palawan, according to the former agriculture secretary, if the island province can become a significant hub for agriculture, aquaculture, and food tourism, with the help of a single crop called “sorghum.”
Sorghum, in addition to producing feed-grade grains, also makes an excellent silage material because its stalks and leaves are still green when harvested.
“At a rate of 40-metric tons of silage per hectare, a 1,000-hectare sorghum farm in Palawan could feed at least 20,000 Cattle every year,” Piñol said, citing a breeder farm of 1,000 heifers that could be fertilized with Wagyu semen could serve as the foundation for the province’s cattle production program.
He claimed that the Wagyu Development Program already has a functioning prototype in Piddig, Ilocos Norte, which was put into place with Corpuz’s assistance.
The appeal of this program for producing top-notch beef is that Palawan has a ready market in the form of tourist destinations that can offer the in-demand Wagyu beef at reasonable prices.
“Again, with the availability of sorghum, Palawan could start a Dairy Goat Program to produce fresh milk, cheese, and even chevon. The Dairy Goat Program could start with a breeding facility whose production could be farmed out to farmers’ cooperatives,” he added.
Native manok production
Piñol also said that the native Parawakan breed of free-range chicken, which is found in Palawan, has been shown to produce more meat when crossed with western varieties that lay a lot of eggs.
This program, if pursued, has the potential to provide all resort areas with the highly sought-after “native manok.”
“All of these programs could boost Palawan’s image as a tourism paradise not only because of its natural beauty but also as a destination for food lovers,” he said.
“Palawan farmers could greatly benefit from these programs and it would boost the rural economy of the province reducing poverty in the countryside,” Piñol added.
These initiatives could be carried out with the help of political will and entrepreneurial leadership.