PALO, Leyte – Twenty-five farmers from this town received egg machines from a private company with the hope of turning them into enterprenuers. John Paul Pangilinan, marketing manager of the Pilmico, said that they are donating the sets of egg machine starter kits with ready-to-lay hens for distribution in towns of Leyte province battered by supertyphoon Yolanda last year. The firm, the food subsidiary of the Aboitiz Group, held the turnover of the kits on August 2 at the municipal hall of this town, one of the hard-hit areas in Leyte when Yolanda pummeled its way nine months ago.

Earlier, the company has also distributed 30 units in Ormoc and another 30 units in northern Cebu, areas also hit by the deadly typhoon. Town Mayor Remedios “Matin” Petilla said that with the egg machines donated to them, farmers could now have an alternative source of income after their farms were destroyed by Yolanda.

One of the beneficiaries was Rafael Cabardo, Jr., 64, whose house and farm at Barangay Naga-Naga, Palo, was destroyed during the onslaught of the typhoon.
“This will be a big help to us farmers who lost our income because of the typhoon,” he said.  The 48 ready-to-lay hens can produce about 30 pieces of eggs daily at 85% production rate. One egg machine is productive for 16 months. The cages, which cost about P35, 000 each, are designed to last up to 10 years.

Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla vowed to expand the project, targeting 5,000 starter kits to achieve egg self-sufficiency for the province. “We will sustain this project by encouraging more households to acquire starter kits. In the next three to five years, we will be self sufficient in eggs,” Petilla told reporters.

Aside from donating kits in Leyte and northern Cebu, Pilmico is also promoting the technology in Samar province. Pilmico is negotiating with non-government organization to acquire egg machine kits to support livelihood recovery activities in poor communities. As of this week, 20 sets are now producing eggs in Basey, Samar. NGOs committed to purchase another 20 kits, according to Raymund Besas, Pilmico territory business manager for Eastern Visayas. The distribution of egg machine starter kits is part of “Mahalin Pagkaing Atin” campaign, which aims to encourage growers and consumers to put pride in their local produce. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO)