Dr. Karl Laurence Pineda, the Department of Agriculture in Davao Region (DA-11)  Unified Artificial Insemination Program coordinator. (Photo courtesy of DA-11)

DAVAO CITY – The Department of Agriculture in Davao Region (DA-11) is intensifying its Artificial Insemination Program (AIP) for the synchronous impregnation of farm animals to cope with the rising meat demand.

In an interview Wednesday, Dr. Karl Laurence Pineda, DA-11 Unified AIP (UAIP) coordinator, said the agency has recently reinvigorated  the program because most local government units (LGU) have not been active in using the AI method.

The AIP is a fertility treatment method used to deliver sperm directly to the cervix or uterus of an animal to impregnate them.

To date, many farms practice the AI method on animals such as cattle, small cattle, and pigs, among others.

“In 2018 or 2019, our coordination to the LGU was guided but when the transition came, it was not maintained, and here comes the pandemic also. This year we made sure that we will bring the AI activities back,” Pineda said.

He noted that Davao Region is currently at the ninth spot in terms of cattle production across the country.

“It might not be that low, but we will push the AI method to increase the stocks, particularly on small ruminants,” he said.

Data from the Philippine Carabao Center showed that Davao Region targeted a total of 1,500 successful AI products but realized only 77 or a measly 5.13 percent of the target.

Pineda explained the program is not specifically targeting commercial meat production, but to also guide the small hold farmers about the benefit of the AI method.

“With the method, biosecurity of the animals and increase of production is assured,” he said.

Meanwhile, DA-11 Director Abel James Monteagudo said that even though AI has long been proven effective and safe, the lack of livestock technicians, low calf crop monitoring, and lack of supply remain on top of the farmers' concerns.

“We will address these concerns in our 2023 budgetary requirements together with the Bureau of Animal Industry, LGUs, and even with the Philippine Carabao Center,” he assured.

For starters, Monteagudo said livestock technicians who conduct AI will be properly compensated.

“I encourage all our livestock technicians to prioritize inseminating our large and small ruminants to revive and improve our livestock production in the region as mandated by our DA Secretary, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.,” he said. (PNA)