DA counts on more sheep in 3 years
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has ordered the importation of commercial and breeder sheep in order to raise the country’s sheep population to close to 80,000 in three years to boost food supply.
“I have given an order to start the importation of sheep now. We need to import commercial stocks first before the breeder stocks, so that we can have a big starting point,” Agriculture Undersecretary Jose Reaño was quoted by BusinessMirror as saying.
Reaño said the breeder sheep will be distributed to government production centers, multiplier farms and private farms. He said the Visayas region would serve as focal point.
BusinessMirror reported that the country’s sheep population was 49,747 as of April 2010, and most of them were raised by the private sector.
Federation of Goat and Sheep Producers Association of the Philippines Inc. president Noel Soliman was quoted as saying that sheep are more resilient to weather disturbances and diseases, so they have more potential than goats.
Filipinos have not yet developed a taste for mutton.
Those who have acquired the taste rely on imported meat sold in the supermarkets, or look for breeders in their areas who could supply their needs.
Government has a P124.5-million Mutton Development Project (MDP), which aims to introduce 3,409 breeder sheep from Australia and distribute 6,514 heads within five breeding seasons.
The first batch of breeder sheep is expected to arrive in June.