South Cotabato dairy farmers undergo social prep training

Dairy farmer-trustees of two South Cotabato-based associations underwent social preparation training (SPT) on May 19-22 to further strengthen their readiness and capacity for engagement in their respective groups.


The training, which was requested by the Center Director Benjamin John Basilio of Philippine Carabao Center at University of Southern Mindanao (PCC at USM), is a prerequisite to the engagement of dairy farmers in carabao-based enterprise development (CBED).


The SPT is aimed at setting a suitable socio-economic mindset that helps develop a strong commitment to project co-ownership among stakeholders and engages advocates, champions and entrepreneurs to support CBED.


Those who completed the training consisted of 41 participants from the Canahay Dairy Farmers Association and 24 were from the Sto. Niño Dairy Farmers Association.


The 65 dairy farmers are owners of crossbred carabaos. They are expected to be partner-champions of PCC at USM in the implementation of dairy buffalo modules and carabao-based enterprises.


The first to undergo training was the Canahay Dairy Farmers Association on May 19-20 at the Canahay barangay hall, Surallah and the second was the Sto. Niño Dairy Farmers Association on May 21-22 at Janitos Place, Purok Lapu-Lapu Village, Sto. Niño, both in South Cotabato.


The training facilitators included Jeffrey Rabanal, PCC at USM training coordinator; Mary Joy Paman, CBED coordinator; Ericson Dela Cruz, PCC training and extension national coordinator; Conrado Penuliar, resource speaker and PCC human resource development officer; and Raquel Bermudez, community organizer.


The dairy farmer-participants experienced two learning methodologies utilized during the training course. One was the discovery learning method, which involved problem-solving and lectures to elicit healthy and dynamic interaction between the resource person and participants. The other involved practicum or demonstration, which comprised group presentations focusing on their techniques and needs as association members.


The two associations also formulated their respective internal policies as part of their SPT output, which will serve as their guide in the implementation of their projects.


Some of their internal policies include that all members are encouraged to help look for market outlets for their products, such as milk and cheese; female buffalo crossbreds may be sold, giving priority to PCC given a buy-back scheme or interested buyers within the community; and all crossbred, native or purebred owners will provide proper feeding and health management.


Partners from the concerned local government units (LGUs) also participated in the social preparation training, nine from the Sto Niño LGU and five were from the Canahay LGU.





Dairying helps in increasing farm income, reducing rural poverty – Sen. Villar

The dairy industry plays an important role in the agricultural sector in its quest for food security and self-sufficiency as well as securing stability and improved quality life for the Filipino people.


This was emphasized by Senator Cynthia A. Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, in her keynote address during the opening ceremony of the 17th Dairy Congress and Expo (DairyConEx) held at the Family Country Hotel in General Santos City on May 7 to 9.


Villar pointed out that the dairy sector is the fastest growing component of the domestic livestock sector in 2013.


She said that this development was due to the interventions carried out for the industry as it continues to gain support from the private sector and the government.


“I agree that dairying contributes to increasing farm income and consequently in reducing rural poverty incidence, enhancing household food security and improving the nutritional status of farming families, communities and the country as a whole,” she declared.


“One of the objectives cited in the dairy roadmap that caught my attention was to involve some 100,000 dairy farming families in active dairy zones in crafting the dairy system and dairy-related enterprises, including breeding services, calf rearing and milk dealership, among others. As of this moment, 22,000 farming families benefitted from this program, and the government through its implementing agencies–the National Dairy Authority (NDA) and the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC)–intend to make it up to 100,000 farming families,” she added


She encouraged the attendees to recognize the support of the government through these agencies which are dedicated to provide quality services and livelihood opportunities to farming communities.


Sen. Villar promised continuous support to the dairy industry.


“I have reviewed the Dairy Roadmap and I am impressed with the objective that you have set for yourselves. I am more than willing to provide legislative support to the lead agency, the National Dairy Authority, and all the implementing agencies, in my capacity as the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food in the same manner that I have been helping other agriculture-related industries and sectors (from rice, onion, garlic and coconut farmers to fisherfolk and halal food producers)”, she said.


Relevant to this, the Department of Agriculture (DA) is developing a new dairy roadmap for the industry in a bid to further improve its production and market competitiveness.


“We are currently doing nationwide consultations in the formulation of the roadmap that will center on the expansion and strengthening of cooperatives and other private entities engaged in the dairy production,” said DA Secretary Proceso Alcala in his message during the opening program.


The plan will serve as a guide for the implementation of the DA’s programs for the industry through the NDA, he said.


Aside from strengthening the support to dairy cooperatives, Secretary Alcala also said that additional funds will be allocated next year to support the buy-back program for cattle and carabaos with proven performance to conserve the best quality genetics.


On the other hand, Juan Lozano, national chair of the Dairy Confederation of the Philippines (DairyCon), said that the DairyConEx is an integral part of efforts geared toward raising productivity and incomes of dairy farmers, augmenting the base herd, creating new market niches, and accelerating the realization of a self-reliant countryside.


The DairyConEx is an annual activity that DairyCon undertakes to serve as a venue for the exchange of information on experiences, particularly on innovations and breakthroughs in the areas of production, processing and marketing as well as cooperative development, Lozano explained.


The theme of this year’s event was “Gatas Pinoy: Paunlarin, Tangkilikin, Palaganapin!”


Highlights of the event included product exhibition, a live animal show and technical presentations.


The PCC, as one of the major sponsors and exhibitors during the event, highlighted in its display the dairy products of PCC at University of Southern Mindanao and Milka Krem at the PCC national headquarters in the Science City of Muñoz as well as best practices in feed nutrition and forage.


Played in the PCC exhibition area was a how-to-video on silage-making, which features Isagani Cajucom, a dairy farmer-cooperator based in Lupao, Nueva Ecija.


A recipient of a silage-making project, Cajucom participated in the dairy congress as part of his efforts to promote the commercialization of silage production.


PCC experts Dr. Daniel Aquino and Dr. Arnel del Barrio presented and discussed topics on best practices in calf-rearing and feed nutrition and forage, respectively.


Erika Nalliw, PCC marketing point person, also discussed the marketing aspects of dairy buffalo products during the plenary session.


The 17th DairyConEx was hosted by the Northern Mindanao Federation of Dairy Cooperatives (NMFDC) in collaboration with the provincial government of Sarangani and the city government of General Santos.


The three-day event was attended by top government officials, foreign dignitaries and industry players from various parts of the country.



“Super Napier” seen to boost local dairy production

A new hybrid “Super Napier” developed and produced in Thailand took center stage during a technical seminar held on May 6 at the national headquarters of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in the Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija.


Known as “Pakchong 1”, the Super Napier was developed by Dr. Krailas Kiyothong of Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development (DLD).


Dr. Kiyothong himself served as the resource person during the technical seminar entitled “Super Hybrid Napier: Production and Utilization” and “Buffalo Extension in Thailand”.


The seminar participants consisted of PCC officials, scientists, animal nutrition experts and researchers as well as farmers from the dairy carabao communities in PCC’s National Impact Zone (NIZ).


Dr. Kiyothong said Pakchong 1 is a cross of ordinary napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) and pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum). He said it took about six years to develop the Super Napier.


Napier grass, also known as elephant grass or Ugandan grass, is a species of perennial tropical grass recommended as forage for dairy animals in the Philippines. Several dairy farmers in Nueva Ecija are used to growing napier grass or gathering it along river banks or other areas for their animal feed.


Pakchong 1 packs a lot of advantages over the ordinary napier grass. It yields more crude protein of about 16 to 18 percent, according to the Thai expert.


In contrast, the ordinary napier contains only about 8 to 12 percent crude protein at harvest time of 45 to 55 days.


Dr. Kiyothong added that using Pakchong 1, a dairy farmer can harvest about 500 tons of grass in one year per hectare of land. He said the ordinary napier grass yield is only about 360-400 tons per hectare.


“It also grows taller,” the Thai expert said. “It can also be ratooned once established in the field and harvesting can be done every 45 to 48 days,” he added.


Dr. Felomino V.Mamuad, PCC officer in charge, said that by June this year PCC will be importing  Pakchong 1 planting materials.


He said additional studies will also be conducted regarding the adaptability of Pakchong 1 under Philippine conditions and to know better the benefits that it can provide for dairy buffaloes in the institutional herd of PCC and those in the hands of the PCC-assisted dairy farmers.