Two batches of selected farmers from the National Impact Zone (NIZ) participated in a milk quality improvement training conducted by the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) at its National Headquarters and Gene Pool in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija on November 3-6.
The participants comprised milk collectors, milk processors and milk quality officers from 50 dairy cooperatives in the NIZ.
The relation of milk quality to animal health, animal nutrition and other aspects of milk production were discussed. The importance of proper milk-handling practices, milk testing and milk delivery to the dairy plant were also tackled.
Mina Abella, officer in charge of the dairy processing and outlet at PCC at Central Luzon State University (PCC at CLSU) and one of the resource persons, pointed out to the trainees that milk handling, particularly in terms of proper hygiene, sanitation and cooling, is essential in producing a quality product. She said that all the key players in the milk supply chain need to constantly observe proper milk handling and establish good and quick delivery systems as well as payment scheme to improve their milk produce and income.
“Quality and collection officers or farmers also have to do milk testing regularly to determine which milk produce meet quality standards and can be processed into various dairy products,” Abella emphasized.
She advised the farmer-participants to establish a standard where the milk will be accepted or rejected based on the results of various milk tests that will be done, such as the organoleptic test, alcohol precipitation test (APT), lactometer test, clot on boiling test and titratable acidity test.
These are easy-to do tests that can be performed by the farmers in a short period of time, she said.
As part of the training, the tests were demonstrated to the trainees by Patrizia Saturno and Ayra Tambalque, plant manager and quality assurance officer of PCC’s central dairy collection and processing facility, respectively.
The other resource persons were Dr. Daniel Aquino, Dr. Lester Verona, Mario Delizo, Wilma T. del Rosario, Marilou Santos, Estella P. Valiente and Jennifer F. Maramba.
Meanwhile, del Rosario, who also served as one of the training facilitators, said that the training is a measure aimed at preparing the farmers for the upcoming summer season.
“Summer season is the time when the dairy farmers attain more milk harvest. However, it is also the time when the temperature is relatively high and milk spoilage can be quite high. Aside from improper milk handling, the high temperature increases the probability of milk spoilage because of the quick reaction of bacteria to the heat,” Del Rosario explained.
“The training is one of our strategies to mitigate the scenario of milk contamination or spoilage due to improper milk handling and increasing temperature,” she added.
Del Rosario said that another batch of dairy farmers will undergo a similar training on November 24-25 .
Meanwhile, for 2015, the PCC, through its dairy herd improvement unit, intends to bring trainings to the farmers’ cooperative level.
“These efforts are part of the PCC’s goal of making Nueva Ecija province the dairy capital of the Philippines,” Del Rosario stated.