The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) is the best example of farm tourism in the Philippines, according to Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, in her keynote address during the 24th anniversary celebration of the agency on March 28.
“When our then Senate President Franklin Drilon asked me to cite a best example of farm tourism in our country, I answered it’s PCC. It’s because it has its own processing plant where milk from the farmers’ carabaos is processed and an outlet where the processed products and those from the farmer- cooperatives’ products are sold,” she explained.
In her speech, the senator acknowledged the role of the farmers in the success of PCC.
“If not for the farmers, the PCC cannot become what it is today,” she said.
The keynote speaker took the occasion to commend PCC for its accomplishments, and reiterated her support to the agency for its “steadfast commitment to enhance the technology and practices to conserve, propagate and promote the carabao as a source of meat and milk, which benefits small-holder farmers.”
Senator Villar stressed that the PCC and its main clients, who are the dairy farmers, contribute significantly to the agriculture department’s goal which is food security for the country.
“The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization itself cited that 50 percent of the food supply globally is provided by the smallholder-farmers and family farms,” she said. “By 2050, when the population shall have reached nine billion, the smallholder-farmers will feed them. Tayo ang nagpapakain sa kanila,” she said.
She averred that PCC focuses attention on helping address food sufficiency in the country by increasing the production of quality milk and meat from the carabao.
She noted that the country is importing a lot of milk to supply its citizens’ demand, but quickly added “PCC is my only hope to solve this.”
She also urged PCC (in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development) to replicate its milk supplementation program in more provinces in the country.
The program, which provides carabao’s milk to day care children for 120 days, was launched in Nueva Ecija and Bukidnon. The milk comes from the dairy farmers being assisted by PCC.
“This program solves two of our country’s major problems, i.e., poverty (among dairy farmers) and malnutrition (among children),” she said.
She added that she believes on the potential of the dairy industry in the country to contribute to the country’s economic growth.
“With our concerted efforts, we will achieve the collective goals in alleviating poverty and in providing food security in our country,” the senator said.
During the day’s program, partner-farmer-cooperatives and institutions were awarded with purebred buffaloes, equipment, and supplies by PCC, PCAARRD, and SEARCA.
The Gintong Kalabaw Cup, a competition for the selection of the best carabao, and the new PCC MTV were also launched.
The event was attended by at least 500 farmers, PCC employees, and representatives of different public agencies and entities.
Dr. Enrico Garzon, Jr., Assistant Secretary for Livestock, also graced the event and delivered an inspirational message for all stakeholders of carabao development program.