Saturday, June 24, 2023 - 12:15

The Future is AI

In the Philippines, raising pigs is a highly common business. Despite the problems the swine industry is currently facing, such as the spread of foot-and-mouth disease and African Swine Fever (ASF), many people are still investing in this industry.

One of them is Eva De Vera from Darruba, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya, who is a farmer, hog breeder, and AI sa Barangay cooperator. She has been raising hogs for the past 15 years, starting in 2008. She is also one of the numerous successful hog producers aided by the Agricultural Training Institute Regional Training Center 02 Livestock Extension program.

Ms. Eva produced pigs naturally; where a male pig still need to go to their home to impregnate her sow. However, because she is the President of Livestock in their barangay,  upon the initiative of ATI-RTC 02 in collaboration with the Local Government Unit of Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya, Ms. Eva’s interest grew when she was encouraged to attend training and seminars. Particularly, she became interested on artificial insemination technology and attended the National Trainer’s Course on Swine Artificial Insemination at the International Training Center for Pig Husbandry (ITCPH) at Lipa City, Batangas on July 13–17, 2019. Ms. Eva honed her skills through these trainings.

ATI-RTC 02 also gave her the access to alternative housing, food, and reproductive devices, as well as artificial insemination technology. ATI gave her two boars. Later, when AI gained popularity, she produced two more boars, which were made up of Durok Pietrain, White Pietrain, and Landrace.

She is now skilled in improving crossbreeds from her native stock. AI made it possible for her to choose and deploy high-quality boars with desirable traits like accelerated growth, the ability to produce lean meat, and disease resistance.

In order to prevent the spread of disease in their community, she imposed restrictions on their family during the African Swine Fever outbreak. They religiously prohibited eating any meat and only consumed organic chicken and vegetables that they grew in their farm.

Even though Ms. Eva possesses the technology for hog farming, she finds it difficult to share it with her fellow farmers.  Others are still doubtful of the significant effect of AI in pig farming.

“At first they did not believe me. So, the semen is really damaged, because the shelf life of semen only lasts 5 to 7 days. It’s very disappointing because the effort of getting semen from the male pig is wasted. The cost of feeds also is very expensive. I posted my piglets that are a product of AI in social media, and gradually they started asking me if they can buy semen that they can use for their hogs,” Eva said.

Through her dedication and hard work, even if she is alone in supporting her children, two of her four children graduated from college. She also said that because of hog raising and profit in AI, she no longer has problems with his children’s food and financial needs.

Eva does not keep this success just to herself. Through the AI sa Barangay of Darubba, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya, she is now assisting other smallholder farmers in their neighborhood by lending her male hybrid stock to breed on their female hogs and by sharing her desire to assist other hog farmers who are affected by ASF. She supplies the semen she collected to other municipalities, and the remaining 30% is given to barangays free of charge.
That is who Eva is.  One of those strong women that even if life throws her a storm, she can always handle it because of her love for her family and her love for what she does.

Also, her Artificial Insemination lessons have now served as the foundation for strengthening her production abilities, not to mention the fact that she is now the sole remaining AI specialist in Region 02. Others refer to her as “The Last Woman Standing.”

Now, many hog raisers might still be hostile to the AI technology. However, there is no doubt that Eva de Vera’s story proves that the future of hog raising is here; that future is AI. 

Story by: