A nationwide project dubbed as “Expanding the Reach of AI Program for the Acceleration of Dairy Herd Build-Up” was launched to hasten the expansion of the country’s dairy herd. This undertaking sought to train some 2,000 village- and-coop-based AI technicians as well as technicians of local government units (LGUs) in various parts of the country.
PCC heightened its research and development efforts, particularly in the area of reproductive biotechnology, in furtherance of the desired goal of upgrading the genetic potentials of the Philippine carabao for milk and meat.
- The R&D activities focused on cryopreservation of buffalo embryos and cloning by somatic cell nuclear transfer.
- A 130-page full-color book, aptly entitled “Changing Lives… Beyond the Draft Carabao”, was launched. This publication captures the experiences of dairy buffalo farmers and their families across the nation.
- A three-year renewal of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Certification 9001:2000 was secured after passing the rigorous audit conducted by SGS (Societe’ Generale Surveillance) Philippines. The renewed certification is proof that PCC is an ISO-compliant organization, particularly with regard to quality management systems (QMS).
- A three-year project on Environmental Animal Health Management was launched in June. The environmental animal health management initiative (EAHMI), funded by the Italian government and supervised by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, was jointly implemented by BAI, PCC and NDA. The undertaking sought to develop capabilities for the Philippines to have a safer, cleaner and more productive animal production environment with small-holder livestock farmers and consumers as the ultimate beneficiaries.
Livestock Development Focus: Dairy Buffalo
The Department of Agriculture issued a policy statement that its livestock development program will focus on dairy buffalo as the basic resource for buffalo-based dairy enterprises, which have been shown in the PCC National Impact Zone and Regional Impact Zones to be effective sources of new jobs, increased income and better nutrition for rural farm families.
In February, the PCC Molecular Genetics Laboratory (MGL) was established for mapping molecular markers on buffaloes that will help in identifying genes that are of economic interest. Relative to this, three technical staffs were sent to lowa State University in Ames, lowa on September to participate in a short-term training on Animal Genomics and Molecular Biology Techniques.
In October, efforts on technical cooperation were started with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in regard to the implementation of a project on increasing the efficiency of the livestock industry through institutionalized genetic improvement system. This led to the deployment of six Korean overseas volunteers (KOVs) for one-year collaboration with PCC counterparts in the fields of Livestock Genetics, Dairy Nutrition, Animal Breeding and Health Management, Farm Mechanization, and Software Development and Data Analysis.
PCC as the Lead Agency in Livestock Biotechnology
DA Administrative Order No. 9 was issued designating PCC as lead entity in the Department of Agriculture network to hasten the Genetic Improvement Program (GIP) in ruminants using reproductive and gene-based biotechniques. This new mandate recognizes PCC’s capability in livestock biotechnology, having the basic facilities and the technical expertise for such an undertaking.
Funding support under the PL480 facility was secured to strengthen PCC as the DA’s Livestock Biotechnology Center. This funding put in place needed facilities and equipment as well as human resource development opportunities related to livestock biotechnology.
Encouraging Volunteerism through KOICA-KOV Program
Collaboration with KOICA was expanded and further strengthened with the dispatch of 12 Korean Oversees Volunteer (KOVs), all from Hankyong National University (HNU), to PCC. A total of 38 KOVs were deployed to PCC until 2011 for immersion and to share knowledge on animal husbandry, milk processing, data management, and product development. Each KOV served a year at the PCC regional centers and cooperatives, resulting in technical assistance to buffalo-based smallholder farmers.
PCC was recognized as Tanglaw Award’s “Most Outstanding Research Institution” during the observance of the 36th anniversary of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD).
The agency is acknowledged for its commitment to research and development on enhancing technologies that conserve, propagate and promote the carabao as a source of milk and meat as well as draft animal power for the benefit of small-holder farmers. PCC provides leadership in national animal biotechnology program focused on increasing the genetic quality of breeding animals.