Farmer’s Sustainable, Organic Approach has Hogs Smelling Sweet
September 9, 2011 | Andrew Burger
Visiting a farm where pigs and hogs are raised, or even living anywhere near an ‘industrial’ hog farm, can be a decidedly unpleasant olfactory experience. But when visiting Herbert Pantua’s 1.6-hectare farm, where he raises 200 hogs and some 300 chickens, people say “they can only pick up the scent of fresh basil, oregano, lavender and many other herb varieties,” according to an Inquirer news report.
It turns out that Mr. Pantua is a strict and rigorous practitioner of his own, homegrown organic farming operation, growing vegetables and herbs and raising his livestock solely with fermented crops as feed as opposed to synthetic feeds. Pantua, in other words, is raising vegetarian hogs.
In addition, Pantua uses all-natural probiotics as opposed to synthetic antibiotics to protect his hogs from disease and illness, which he credits as the reason his hogs don’t smell bad. He resorts to antibiotics, which he says eliminate the beneficial organisms that naturally protect the animals from disease, only when needed and in carefully controlled doses.
A sustainable agriculture advocate as well as practitioner, Pantua, his brothers and a group of agriculture experts in 2009 created Herb Republic Agro Ventures in the southern Luzon area of the Philippines. They also launched the Herb Republic Restaurant, which serves only organically grown crops and livestock from the farm and the neighboring town of Los Banos.
In stark contrast to prevailing methods of large-scale industrialized agriculture, sustainable agriculture for Pantua “is a cycle of taking and giving back to the environment what was taken.”
“Man does not eat only to satisfy his hunger, but to nourish his body. If the crops no longer absorb the right nutrients and minerals from the soil (because they are already depleted), we might just be eating mere leaves,” he told Inquirer reporter Maricar Cinco.
“How can you sustain something in a depleted environment? If you dispose wastes in rivers, you are polluting the waterways,” Said Pantua. “It’s not anymore about keeping your own yard clean and throwing the trash outside. We should now develop a global perspective.”