The carabao is a huge existing resource that has been associated with millions of small-scale farmers and the economically deprived sector in most parts of the country. The land ownership of this sector is relatively small and farmers have less access to other economic opportunities.
The carabao development program aims to improve the productivity of the carabaos as sources of meat and milk, and thus directly accelerate nutritional alleviation of this sector while providing opportunities for augmenting their farm incomes. Training family members, particularly women, on proper utilization of this existing resource and allowing them access to better technologies and other production enhancing items, and group strengthening through community organization are major components of the program.
Establishment of a carabao production system that emphasizes entrepreneurship above that of subsistence system would allow millions of rural families to improve their income and ameliorate their economic conditions.
Promoting cooperativism among small-holder farmers in target communities allows them to harness the power of group endeavors. Community organization perpetuates group action and empowerment.
PCC supports the establishment of community organizations and cooperatives envisioned to grow into independent and potent avenues in promoting carabao-based enterprises. Through cooperatives, the smallholder farmers can create a formidable means for putting a business at a scale common only among commercial producers. Produce, either in the form of milk, meat or breeding animals, can be consolidated, graded, processed and traded to be more competitive in the commercial market.
Cooperatives are to be federated to further lend strength, forming a second level organization that will take care of marketing and other concerns over and above the issues on production.
“Seeding” and “incubation” of cooperatives are initiated first at the National Impact Zone (NIZ) and in Regional Impact Zones (RIZ) all over the country.
Access to Credit
Specialized credit to support carabao-based enterprises, primarily through access to superior breeding animals, is provided to the farmers. In cooperation with other agencies, NGAs, NGOs and LGUs support infrastructure for production and product processing are likewise facilitated. These are items which, traditionally, cannot be addressed by individual farmers due to the magnitude of the needed financial requirements.
Training of Technicians and Farmers
Capacitation and capability building activities are of prime importance in the implementation of CBED. The PCC’s training support programs provide skills enhancement, knowledge acquisition, information exchange and transformation toward positive change attitudes of farmers and technicians. These actors are targeted because they serve as the primary stakeholders, which provide meaning and context for all interventions or processes relevant to CBED.
The PCC’s responsibility is to provide appropriate technologies and information including processes and services to improve animal productivity. Emphasis is placed on animal health and sanitation, animal nutrition and feeding management, animal breeding and reproduction including cooperative efforts for more strategic management.
Through the development of village-based technicians, the PCC veers away from the traditional “Training and Visit” approach to extension, which entails recurring costs on the part of the project proponents. Instead, the PCC helps develop the capacity of the said technicians to become “professional” extension agents, whose services the farmers willingly patronize even at a cost. The said strategy also helps diminish the dole-out mentality syndrome that is still pervasive in many farming communities in the rural areas.
Capability building initiatives are also provided to other PCC partners such as the local government units, other government offices, Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Units, state colleges and universities, non-government organizations and private sector in the identified impact zones. In the end, a strong public-private partnership is established and well-sustained at all levels where PCC support services are provided.
The capability building program operates with the framework of responsiveness, reliability, flexibility and relevance to the needs of the clientele. Towards this end, PCC partners are assured of productive individuals and progressive carabao-based communities.
Development of carabao-based products and creating demand for these commodities are essential. Market development opens doors of opportunities and motivates growth in production.
Assistance shall consider the market niche advantage of buffalo-derived products such as milk for specialized processing of high-value items. Likewise, efforts shall consider the inherent advantage and quality of buffalo meat produced following recommended standards for meat production.
Interventions shall be considered to address the low quality issue normally obtained from small-hold production system and the high quality demand in the commercial market.