Davao poultry producers threatened by expansion of subdivisions

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 August) – The massive expansion of subdivisions in the southern part of Davao City threatens the local poultry industry and should push the city council to designate an area in Calinan and Tugbok Districts as “food corridor” to ensure a stable production of meat products, a group of poultry growers said.

Lalaine dela Victoria, Davao Poultry and Egg Producers Inc. president told reporters Monday that they fear they could no longer meet the local demand for meat products.

She said they want to lobby for a declaration of a “food corridor” to protect the growers and breeders of cattle, hogs, and poultry from the looming threat of land development.

She said the local poultry industry produces about 32 million chickens a year but demand would reach 40 million a year.

Chinkie Pelino-Golle, acting executive director of environment group Interface Development Interventions said Tuesday she doesn’t mind the operations of the existing farms for as long as they don’t go near the water “recharge zones” and conservation areas.

“May point naman sila dun sa massive expansion ng subdivisions (They have a point regarding the massive expansion of subdivisions),” she conceded.

But she said they must also address the pollution that their farms bring to the communities.

Victoria said a food corridor will ensure that the farmers will not be displaced from their farms.

She said the group needs the support of the council because most of the land developers are now fixing their eyes on these areas as potential areas for expansion of their residential projects.

“You know most of the land developers go to Calinan and Tugbok, which are near our areas, and when they are near our poultry farms, we are being closed down,” she said.

She said their group already sat down with the City Planning and Development Office to include the locations of the existing farms, mostly in Calinan and Tugbok, in the city’s geo-mapping system so land developers information will know where they are operating and aptly decide on the distance of the buffer zone from these farms.

She said the industry is “very much” threatened by ongoing land developments.

“The food corridor will be able to preserve the areas where the poultry and other livestock are located and we will not be afraid anymore to invest. As of now, there is a fear to invest because we might be closed down,” she said.

She added the identification of “food corridor” will ensure that existing poultry farms will be protected.

She said the City Government must consider “vertical” socialized housing rather than encouraging a horizontal type of development which consumes too much space.

“Even if we want to solve the deficit, we cannot because of expansion problem and regarding the zoning,” she said.

On the problem on flies and odor, she said they are already addressing it.

“The reason why we have flies and odor is that the collection of dung from the farms are being brought by the buyers of the dung, and then sometimes the transport is through an open truck so the flies go with the dung. And when it reaches the farm or the plantations they just unload the dung and so it is exposed to sun and the rain and that becomes becomes the breeding ground of the flies,” she explained.

She said most of them have employed a technology that uses an airconditioned tunnel-ventilated poultry house to control the odor.

She said members of their association will now immediately remove the dung from the farms using a closed truck and transport it to the common facility of the Department Agriculture to convert it to fertilizer.

“If we have enough money, we will build a common facility that will turn it to biogas – so waste-to-energy plus organic fertilizer. Through organic fertilizer, we hope that the cost of corn and soya which are the main ingredients of our feeds will also go down because we will now use the organic fertilizer not the synthetic,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)