In Central Visayas: Artificial Insemination Technology gives better life for Farmers

Created on Wednesday, 04 June 2014

aiGina Lañojan of Bahay, Sibonga Cebu raises cattle produced through Artificial Insemination (AI) as her way of supporting her husband Victorino’s income and to showcase the advantages of breeding animals through AI.
Her animals are bigger than native animals, earning the couple bigger income which they used in improving their house and in buying appliances, among others.

Victorino serves as AI technician of this municipality about 60 kilometers Southeast of the capital city of Cebu. He is an outstanding AI technician of Cebu province, one of the top performers in the number of animals produced through AI in Central Visayas. The region contributes about 33% (6, 99 heads) of the 20,792 heads of calves produced in 2013 from the AI technology in the country.
The artificial insemination program is a component of the DA’s livestock technical support services which is implemented by the DA through the LGUs. For the regional semen requirement, the Philippine Carabao Center based in Ubay (Bohol) Stock Farm procures carabao semen from the National Artificial Breeding Center (NABC) in Malaybalay, Bukidnon while DA-7’s livestock and poultry sector procures and distributes cattle semen free to local government units. Artificial Insemination technicians and the required liquid nitrogen tanks to store the frozen semen are provided by the LGUs. To readily purchase liquid nitrogen and to meet maintenance cost of tanks and AI supplies, some LGUs pass resolutions to charge minimal fees for AI services.
The artificial insemination program started in Region 7 in the 80’s under the assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The Japanese government provided for the trainings of the technicians and the initial liquid nitrogen tanks, AI guns and sheaths. There were initial fears expressed by farmers as to the effectivity of the AI technology and safety for their animals, because of the misconception that bigger fetus will put the mother animal’s life at risk. However, information dissemination on proper animal care to ensure healthy pregnancy and delivery by breeder animals have corrected wrong assumptions.

Partnerships in the conduct of information dissemination pertinent to AI with provincial and municipal livestock personnel have brought better diffusion of the AI technology to the farmers’ level. Provincial veterinary offices have also appreciated the value of the technology, and have made AI as one of their banner programs in the work of improving animal genetics among livestock farmers they serve. Central Visayas Provinces have also established – in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture -- their localized version of the AI program. To illustrate, Bohol Province has built linkages with NGOs like the Confederation of Boholanos in USA and Canada (CONBUSAC) and the Boholano Association of Washington State (BOAWAS), to expand areas of coverage through generation of support funds for the procurement of AI paraphernalia, supplies and motorcycles.

What else contributed to the wide acceptance of the AI technology in Central Visayas? OIC Regional Technical Director Joel Elumba said that some of the success factors include continuing retooling for AI technicians through refresher courses, support to LGUs through provision of monetary incentives to technicians for every calf dropped, and regular holding of a congress where technicians exchange experiences and find answers for their concerns.

On the othetr hand, Quirico Limguis, AI technician of Valencia, Negros Oriental says that it takes more than just technical skills to get acceptance of the technology. According to him, the success of an AI program hinges on the accomplishment of other tasks such as helping farmers ensure enough forage pastures, promotion of livestock health and production technologies, and pregnancy diagnosis. He gets back to the farmer and educates them on what to do if the animals do not get pregnant, and that is to put them on the right nutrition and to subject them again to AI procedure when they are in heat, among others. Keeping one’s self updated of AI and other livestock related technologies are also an additional challenge for the technician, he said.

Limguis conveys the message that the front liners – the agricultural technicians -- are vital cogs in the delivery of crops and livestock technologies. DA-7 OIC Regional Director Angel Enriquez during the latest AI congress referred to them as valuable partners in the quest for food security”. (mspt)