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close this bookRecording and Using Indigenous Knowledge: A Manual (IIRR, 1996, 211 p.)
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View the documentIncorporation of local free species in an agroforestry project in Layong Mabilog Philippines
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View the documentTraditional animal dispersal schemes in Cavite, Philippines
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Traditional animal dispersal schemes in Cavite, Philippines


The Green Revolution of the 1960s and '70s contributed to the 1056 of livestock in many farming systems in the Philippines. Intensive monocropping has since proven unsatisfactory, but the high cost of livestock is preventing many farmers from returning to mixed farming systems.

Farmers in the Philippine province of Cavite want to reintroduce animals to their farms, for draft work and income. 50, as part of its effort to promote crop-trees-livestock farming systems, IIRR borrowed and adapted a livestock dispersal scheme traditionally practiced by farmers in the province.

In the traditional practice, an animal's offspring are shared between the animal's owner (nagpapaiwi) and the animal's caretaker (nangingiwihan). The animal's first offspring goes to its caretaker as payment for tending the animal. The animal's owner receives the second offspring, the caretaker the third and so on. Offspring are shared only between the owner and the caretaker. If a cow produces 10 calves during the production period, the owner gets five calves and the caretaker five. At the end of the production period, the cow is returned to the owner.

The caretaker and the owner share responsibility for treating the animal in case of sickness. Normally, farmers depend on para-veterinarians who use indigenous plants. Fodder from crop residues and naturally growing grasses make up moat of the animal's ration. If an animal does not produce offspring, the owner and the caretaker share equally in the net proceeds from sale of the animal, after deducting the original capital cost. The owner shoulders the cost of replacing the animal.

Under the IIRR scheme, the traditional dispersal practice has been modified. IIRR has.granted livestock to a local farmers' cooperative. The cooperative acts as owner of the animals, which are turned over to cooperative members who serve as caretakers. But unlike the traditional system, caretakers receive the second and subsequent offspring, but not the fires. The fires offspring goes to the owner, in this case the cooperative. This animal is then assigned to another cooperative member still waiting for an animal. This modification was Recording and Using Indigenous Knowledge adopted to speed up dispersal of animals and to spread benefits to more farmers. Also, caretakers of cattle and buffalo become the owner of the assigned animals after five years, caretakers of small ruminants own the animals after three years.

If for some reason an animal does not produce offspring, total proceeds from sale of the animal go towards buying a replacement. If there is money left over after purchase of a replacement animal, this money is shared between the cooperative and the caretaker.

The system has worked. it has ensured that farmers care for their assigned animals and that first offspring are reassigned to other members of the cooperative. In 1989, for example, the project distributed 17 cattle heifers to 17 farmers. By 1994,17 fires offspring of these heifers had been assigned to a second "set" of farmers, and from these, another 7 offspring had already reached new owners.

There were shortcomings, however. The dispersal system was slow and provided no incentive to the cooperative to handle distribution. To remedy this, the cooperative slightly changed the policies of the dispersal system. Now it charges a small fee for each animal distributed. And, not only the first, but also the third offspring is returned to the cooperative.

Compiled by Nestorio B. Roderno