PCC trains Lupao farmers on high quality corn silage production

The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) recently conducted a one-day training for 12 farmers from Barangay Parista, Lupao, Nueva Ecija on the production of high quality corn silage.


Held at the PCC national headquarters in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija on September 25, the training was conducted as part of the PCC’s collaborative project with the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) on the “Commercialization of Grass/Forage Corn Silage for Dairy Buffaloes in Lupao through a Technomart”.


It was organized by Dr. Eric P. Palacpac, technomart project leader, with support from Charity Castillio, project research assistant.


Ang paggawa ng may kalidad na burong mais ay napakahalaga. Kung magagawa natin ito, ang produkto natin ay mas lalong magiging competitive at magagawa pa natin itong i-export sa ibang bansa para sa mas malaking kita (Producing high quality corn silage is very important. If we can produce corn silage product with high quality, it will be more competitive and we can even export this to other countries to have more income),” Dr. Palacpac emphasized in his opening remarks at the start of the training.


He pointed out that under the Philippine National Standard on Corn Silage Production (PNSCSP), recently set by the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Products Standards (BAFS), the quality of corn silage products in the country will be monitored and checked before these are sold to the target markets, whether locally or internationally.


“The BAFS will be the one to certify if our silage meets the standards,” he said.


Dr. Daniel Aquino, PCC’s technical expert on silage production, discussed the importance of the BAFS standards on corn silage production. He illustrated how the quality of silage is affected by low quality ensiling.


Kung hindi masisiksik ng mabuti ang mais na buburuhin sa lalagyan nito, maaari itong magkaroon ng hangin sa loob dahilan upang mabuhay ang mga mikrobyo sa binuburo at magkaamag ito. Ang produktong may amag ay hindi maaaring ipakain sa kalabaw sapagka’t maaaring magkasakit ang kalabaw dahil dito, bumaba ang produksyon ng gatas at makunan ito kung buntis (If we will not ensile our corn silage properly, our product will have air that will give rise to bad microorganisms and cause molds. Corn silage that has molds should not be used as feed for buffaloes since it may cause diarrhea in the animal, lower the level of its milk production and abort its calf if it happened that the animal is pregnant),” Dr. Aquino explained.


Aquino advised the farmer-participants to ensile their product properly and follow the standard of silage production to come up with high quality product.


Proper corn silage production calls for the right ratio, color, odor and the right ph level.  Based on the applicable standard, the silage product will be classified accordingly as having good or bad quality.


“In silage production, the silage must have a right ratio of 1:1 kg for its corn stalk and leaves while its corn grains or ear must be of 30%. The corn must also be harvested at maturity age of 75-80 days before production and the color of the fermented product must also be yellowish green. It must also have a sweet aroma smell, 25mm to 100mm cuttings and ph level of 4.2 to 4.7,” Dr. Aquino explained.


Dr. Tsutomo Fujihara, PCC’s Japanese technical consultant on nutrition and silage production, also demonstrated the proper maintenance of forage chopper.


For his part, Nur Baltazar, head of PCC’s human resource management unit, urged the farmer-trainees to give their best efforts on the production of quality silage because it can be a real profitable business that they can pursue.


The trainees later had a field tour at Bena Corn Corporation in Alaminos, Laguna. It is one of the country’s two biggest exporters of corn silage to South Korea.


Banker-entrepreneur with a social agenda. He dared to dream in ‘businessizing’ the carabao… and succeeded

How does an investment banker also become a carabao dairyman and succeed in both occupations?

Well, Danilo V. Fausto did it the hard way, just like how he developed his expertise in serving a variety of clients in investment banking as well in packaging and flotation of municipal bonds.

Spurred by a social purpose to help his fellow Novo Ecijanos, Fausto, known to friends and clients as “DVF”, spearheaded the establishment of the Talavera Dairy Cooperative, Inc. in 1992 in his hometown of Talavera, Nueva Ecija, which is about two hours car ride from Manila via the North Luzon Expressway. Through this coop, he envisioned opening more livelihood opportunities for small-hold farmers.

In 2000 he established the DVF Dairy Farm, Inc. to complement the coop’s operations. From a single proprietorship venture, the farm eventually transformed into a business corporation, which now helps hundreds of dairy farmers engaged in carabao-based dairy enterprises not only in Talavera but also in nearby towns.

DVF’s enterprise now grosses sizable monthly sales of various carabao milk-based dairy products. This feat also translates to substantial additional income for the dairy farmers who supply the needed fresh carabao milk, the milk collectors, the workers who tend the animals (including those who cut the grasses that are fed to the dairy carabaos), the dairy plant workers and those who deliver and sell the dairy products.

Already, he is now setting his sights on replicating his experience in different parts of the country.

“I find the dairy business not only a good venture but also as an opportunity to help the farmers in our hometown and nearby areas to double or triple their incomes,” he declared.

The beginning

It all started in 1987 when DVF bought 10 Murrah buffaloes, which he knew was capable of giving more milk and meat than do native carabaos.

At that time, there was not enough forage around in his farm in Barangay Sampaloc in Talavera town as rice harvest-time was still more than a month away. As a result, the health of his animals began to deteriorate and neighboring farmers thought he was mistaken in his venture. They even laughed at him for “throwing away his money just like that.”

DVF persisted though and found ways to solve the animal nutrition problem. His animals eventually regained and improved their health. His stocks soon increased in number and farmer-neighbors had another view of what he started. They wanted to borrow some of his animals to take care of and enjoy some benefits from them.

It was not far-fetched to think why the farmers wanted to milk and tend some of DVF’s carabaos. He was collecting eight liters of milk per animal, which he sold from house to house in Talavera with the help of two aides.

Then with assistance from the staff of the then Philippine Carabao Research and Development Center (PCRDC), he started to produce pastillas de leche (milk candies), which was received very well by the consuming public in his town and his friends in Manila.

It was then that he thought of encouraging some farmers to organize and establish the Talavera Dairy Cooperative. He joined the interested farmers in the orientation and training for prospective recipients of the 25-dairy carabao module provided by the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC).

The cooperative started to produce milk and was looking for an expanded market where it could sell its milk.

That was the time he put up the DVF Dairy Farm, which began producing milk products carrying the brand of the DVF Dairy Farm, “Gatas ng Kalabaw”.

Back then, DVF didn’t have a processing plant and equipment.

Processing plant

Putting up a processing plant requires an investment of quite a sum. Since, DVF had only rather small cash on hand at that time, he opted to work within his available budget.

“I bought pieces of equipment and materials for the processing plant, and for the selling of the products,” he said.

These included a drum, which he cut into two for his materials for pasteurization, an industrial burner for heating water, small bottles, caps for the bottle, bladder bag, sealer, and a pedal-driven tri-bike for the delivery of the finished products.

He pasteurized milk using the equipment and materials bought, employing the double-boiler process to make sure that the nutritious elements in the milk would not be lost.

To expand the market, he convinced the leadership of Nueva Ecija province to conduct a milk feeding program for malnourished children.

“Our then fledgling outfit also ventured in making cheese products and in producing flavored milk,” he recalled.

To broaden further his knowledge and skills in the development of other milk products as well as running and managing a dairy business, DVF continued his attendance in seminars and training conducted by the government, particularly those offered by the PCC and National Dairy Authority (NDA).

His participation in those seminars and trainings made him decide to upgrade his pieces of equipment used for the production of milk products.

In time, he bought top-of-the-line equipment that included homogenizer, storage tanks, batch pasteurizers, filling tank made of steel and others. These equipment gave impetus to the improvement of the quality of his milk products. He made sure that strict procedures were followed in the testing, pasteurization and homogenization of the milk delivered by the farmers to his plant. The packaging of his products vastly improved, too.

His current product lines include pasteurized and flavored milk (choco, buko-pandan, melon); plain yogurt, mango-flavored yogurt, creamy and crunchy yogurt with nata de coco, and non-fat yogurt; kesong puti (cottage cheese), queso blanco, mozzarella cheese; pastillas, espasol, and milk candies.

Most of these products are sold in various outlets in Metro Manila, Pampanga and Cebu while some are retained in the company’s plant and display center in Talavera. Starting in 2001, DVF’s sales have been growing by leaps and bounds.

DVF revealed that the company plans to export its products to Hongkong soon.

As a companion project, he continuously provides help to the farmers through the “paiwi system”. Once the animal lactates, the sharing is 50-50 in milk sales.

He has likewise extended the system to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who are encouraged to invest in procuring dairy carabaos and entrusting it first to the company which takes care of the animals for them. Later the company looks for farmer-partners of the project.

This “investment in dairy carabao” scheme has the full support of the chair of the Economic Resource Center for Overseas Filipinos (ERCOF) Philippines, Inc. ERCOF, a non-profit organization registered with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), “provides programs and services that will enable overseas Filipinos to utilize and maximize their resources, skills, technologies, talents, human capital and other resources for more productive use in the migrants’ communities in the Philippines and overseas.” About P2 million has now been invested by the OFWs in the dairy carabao project. Many of these OFW-investors are now enjoying the benefits of carabao dairying.


After two decades in the business of carabao dairying, DVF is venturing into replicating his experience in Nueva Ecija to other provinces. With his son Emmanuel, assisting him, he will soon go to Pampanga, Pangasinan and Zambales.

“We will also venture in other provinces in the country later on,” he said.

He added that along the way, further improvements in what he has started will set in.

“We will continue what we have started. We hope that through this, the dairy industry in the country will become robust and as such we will be able to lessen the volume of milk and milk products that we import. We are hoping that our efforts will contribute to the stated mission of our company,” DVF emphasized.

The DVF Farm mission reads: “A pioneering company in the local dairy industry, providing livelihood opportunities in the countryside, making the farmers’ dairy produce available, in the highest standard of quality and excellence acceptable to the discriminating market.”

There’s no question about it: Danilo V. Fausto, investment banker-dairyman, backs his words with action.

PCC, Ubay LGU launches ‘Pangnegosyong Gatasan ni Juan’

“Pangnegosyong Gatasan ni Juan (Juan’s Dairy Business)”, a project of the local government of Ubay in Bohol province is now underway.


The undertaking was officially launched during the town’s 167th foundation day celebration on September 1 in cooperation with the Philippine Carabao Center at Ubay Stock Farm (PCC at USF).


It is being implemented in the context of PCC’s national Carabao Development Program (CDP), which aims to help in efforts to address concerns involving poverty alleviation, food security, improved nutrition, and employment opportunities by harnessing the potentials of the water buffalo, commonly known as carabao, for milk and meat.


The Ubay project bears the slogan “Aron adunay trabaho, dugang kita ug garbo ang lungsod sa Ubay [so that there will be jobs, additional income and pride for the town of Ubay]”.


“Pinaka target nato nga by year 2020, mamahimo ta’ng milk capital sa whole Visayas area [our target is that by year 2020, we will be hailed as the milk capital in the whole Visayas area]”, says Ubay Mayor Galicano E. Atup.


“Ubay has been very supportive of the agency’s undertakings. That is why it was chosen as one of PCC’s impact areas where our operations are being modelled,” Dr. Caro B. Salces, PCC at USF director, explained.


Data gathered by the center show that Ubay had produced 76,678.90 liters of milk since 2010 up to August 2014 from 176 dairy farmers. Moreover, 271 Ubayanons had availed of PCC’s bull loan program since 1998, while not less than 35,000 AI services have been rendered with the town since 2004, and counting.


The Ubay LGU and PCC at USF, along with other partner-agencies have set modest goals for its dairy-related project.  It aims to conduct the 1st Milk Festival by 2014 which will mark attainment of the targeted production of 1,000 liters of milk per day, including those produced from cows and goats. By 2016, it aims to conduct the 3rd Milk Festival and achieve the distinction of being hailed as the “Milk Capital of Central Visayas”, and eventually be recognized as the “Milk Capital of the Visayas Islands” by year 2020.


PCC at USM earns honors at Cotabato’s Centennial Kalivungan Festival 2014

The Philippine Carabao Center at the University of Southern Mindanao (PCC at USM) was adjudged 3rd place Top Seller among some 40 exhibitors who participated in the Cotabato Tourism and Trade Expo, popularly known as “Market-Market sa Kapitolyo”.

The trade fair served as one of the main highlights of the observance of Cotabato province’s 100th founding anniversary, dubbed as the “Centennial Kalivungan Festival 2014”. It was held August 25-September 1 at the Agri-Center, Capitol Compound, Amas, Kidapawan City.

During the opening program, Gov. Emmylou “Lala” J. Taliño-Mendoza welcomed guests and participants.

Guest of honor and keynote speaker was Dir. Nelly Nita N. Dillera, regional director of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Southern Mindanao (Region XII). In her speech, she focused on the vast tourist attractions and agri-tourism potentials of Cotabato.

“Market-Market sa Kapitolyo” featured “Tabuan: the MSMEs Specials”, which was aimed at providing micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) a platform for “building synergies through targeted business to business opportunities, market local products or services and fostering closer interaction between technology seekers and promoters by showcasing the agricultural abundance and tourist attractions in the province.”

PCC at USM, which assists local dairy farmers in their carabao-based enterprises, highlighted in its display booth a variety of nutritious dairy products. It also provided information materials to those who visited the PCC booth as one way of promoting the center’s programs and services.

Meanwhile, seminars and lectures regarding strategic marketing, costing and pricing, and market opportunities were held during the trade fair. Participating entrepreneurs were likewise given an overview on the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2015. The event was also a venue where importers and exporters met with producers of various products for marketing possibilities.

The center was awarded a cash prize and a trophy during the culmination program held on September 1.

In his remarks, Dr. Benjamin John C. Basilio, PCC at USM center director, said that dairy enterprise is a potential market player in Cotabato province that can provide farmers with additional income.

PCC-assisted coop to enhance milk processing facility

The Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative (EPMPC) based in Sibut, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija has received funding amounting to Php100,000 from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) through its Program Beneficiaries Development (PBD) for a project aimed at enhancing the coop’s village-level processing center.


The undertaking was formalized during the grant turn-over and signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among EPMPC, DAR and other project partners, such as the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the local government of San Jose City on September 3. 


The EPMPC is one of the groups being assisted by the PCC in the National Impact Zone (NIZ) of the agency’s Carabao Development Program. The coop operates its own small-scale dairy processing plant and has developed a market for its various dairy products.


According to Jocelyn Ramones, Nueva Ecija Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer I of DAR, the EPMPC was chosen as one of three PBD beneficiaries in Central Luzon after complying with the requirements for the project, such as having an existing operational processing facility.


“We have also verified that the coop has a very sound and strong leadership, thus, qualifying it for the PBD grant,” Ramones explained.


The support fund will be used to improve the EPMPC’s milk processing center, particularly for the production of flavored caramilk, following the specifications and guidelines set by the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD).


This will allow the coop to secure a BFAD registration/license to operate, which will allow it to expand its market to cover institutional buyers. 


As stipulated in the agreement, the DTI will extend assistance in management skills development and in marketing and product development. DTI will also help in preparing documents necessary in acquiring the needed BFAD license.


The PCC, on the other hand, will continue to provide technical assistance in carabao production and management to ensure the continuous flow of milk from the coop members’ dairy buffaloes.


For its part, the local government of San Jose City will monitor the progress of the facility improvement. If needed, the LGU will also extend financial help to facilitate completion of the project. 


Melchor Correa, EPMPC chairman, expressed his gratitude to the various agencies that have put their trust on the coop.


“We are indeed very lucky to be a recipient of this fund. Rest assured that we will use the fund to further develop our cooperative,” Correa said during the grant turn-over cum MOA signing ceremony. 


Apart from Ramones and Correa, also present during the event were Hon. Jenny Salvador from the San Jose City Council; Ming Ocampo, DAR training coordinator; Mario Delizo, Project Development Officer II of PCC; Elagio Duran, division chief of DTI’s Business Management Division, and members of the EPMPC.


The renovation is set to start upon the release of the fund and will be completed before the year ends.


Gender and Development activity PCC holds seminar on family planning for farmer-trustees in NIZ

Farmer-trustees from four cooperatives in the National Impact Zone (NIZ) of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) participated in a seminar on health, nutrition improvement and family planning held at the PCC national headquarters in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija on September 1.


Organized by the PCC carabao-based enterprise development (CBED) operations team, the seminar was held as part of the government’s Gender and Development (GAD) initiatives. It was conducted in coordination with the Provincial Health and Education Promotion Office (PHEPO) of Nueva Ecija province.


Those who attended the seminar comprised 40 farmer-trustees of selected PCC-assisted cooperatives in the NIZ. Of the participants, 20 were from Nag-iisang Masikap Multi-Purpose Cooperative in General Natividad town, 10 from Catalanacan Multi-Purpose Cooperative in the Science City of Muñoz, six from Eastern Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and four from Simula ng Panibagong Bukas Producers Cooperative in San Jose City, all in Nueva Ecija.


According to Ericson Dela Cruz, training and extension national coordinator, the activity was intended to increase the participants’ awareness on the importance of health, nutrition and family planning, and to gain knowledge and awareness on the advantages of well-planned families engaged in dairy buffalo enterprises.


Dr. Arnel Del Barrio, PCC’s acting executive director, welcomed the participants at the start of the one-day activity. He assured them of full support from PCC in addressing various concerns related to carabao-based enterprise development.


Jessica Supan, a nurse, and Iluminada Pascua, a nutritionist, both from PHEPHO, served as resources persons on topics that covered various aspects of family planning, health and nutrition. An open forum was held after each lecture-discussion.


Pinahiraman natin sila ng kalabaw para makatulong sa kabuhayan nila, pero hindi sila aasenso kung dagdag sila nang dagdag ng miyembro ng pamilya kaya tinuturo itong family planning para makatulong sa pag-tiyak sa kinabukasan ng pamilya nila (We entrusted buffaloes to them so that they can have a better livelihood but their lives won’t get any better if they continuously add members to their family. That is why family planning is introduced to them to help them make a better future), Carlo Tienzo, PCC enterprise development specialist, explained.


He added that family planning also includes health and nutrition, thus not only the buffaloes should be healthy but also the dairy farmers.


Nang dahil sa seminar mas napagbuti pa ang kaalaman namin sa pagpaplano ng pamilya. Siguradong ibabahagi naming ito sa mga kabarangay namin lalo na sa mga kapwa namin kababaihan (Because of the seminar, it enriched our knowledge on family planning. We will surely impart the knowledge we have gained to our fellow citizens in our village and most especially to our fellow women),” Carmelita Evangelista, one of the participants, declared.


PCC trains animal health care assistants

Animal health care services will now be accessible to more dairy farmers in the National Impact Zone (NIZ) of the Carabao Development Program (CDP) with the continuous capacitation of dairy farmers as animal health assistants.

These assistants are selected dairy farmers from different dairy cooperatives in the NIZ with five to 10 dairy buffaloes and who have been engaged in dairying for more than five years.

They underwent training on proper animal health care management conducted by the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) under its Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) program. The training was held August 27-29 at the agency’s national headquarters in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

The farmer assistants will provide various tasks, such as vaccination, deworming, milk and blood sampling, and other basic services for small-hold dairy farmers in their respective cooperatives.

“The training is part of the efforts of the agency to refocus the provision of direct services to its partner-cooperators into capacity-building,” Wilma del Rosario, Agriculturist II of PCC, said.

Currently, the basic services are carried out by PCC veterinarians and technicians. With more farmer assistants, the PCC’s assistance will be limited to emergency cases only.

“Eventually, we want to form a cadre of trained animal assistants who can help the agency in bringing direct services to more farmers in the rural areas,” del Rosario explained.

During the training, the farmers were taught how to recognize the signs and symptoms of common animal diseases that are found among the carabaos in the NIZ. They are also trained to administer drugs and manage wounds when necessary.

They also learned the proper collection and handling of milk, blood, and fecal samples for laboratory analysis as well as conducting physical examination and taking vital signs of the animals.

During the last day of the training, the farmers applied the concepts they learned in a practical exam at the training center in Digdig, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.

“The training is a great help for me and our cooperative since we have a growing herd of about 220 dairy buffaloes. We really need more technicians to perform the needed health care services,” Allan Benitez, chairman of Simula ng Panibagong Bukas Primary Cooperative in San Jose, Nueva Ecija, said. “This will accelerate the delivery of such services,” he added.

About 50 dairy farmers have already undergone the training in August and 20 more are expected to complete it in September.

Once an employee, now a ‘boss’. Buffalo dairying: A lifetime venture

Many individuals choose the security of a company job. Some, however, are not afraid to take the risk of an uncertain future brought about by starting new businesses.

Such is Eliseo Mislang, 35, from Sibut, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija. He started raising dairy buffaloes in 2011 as an extra venture. A couple of years later, he decided to resign from his regular job and go full-time into dairying.

Right decision

Known to friends as Eli, he used to be a sales agent in a popular soft drinks company. For almost seven years, he earned a daily salary of Php350 on top of incentives when he reached his quota.

He also had a chance to rise in the corporate ladder and receive higher compensation as long as he continued to excel in his work.

Eli, however, decided to let go of all these benefits when he chose to devote his time to raising carabaos.

“It came to a point when the demands of my job coincided with the need to focus on my dairy carabaos and so I had to weigh things carefully,” shared Eli. “As an agent, I worked for almost 12 hours daily. I also had many bosses. In dairying, my time was my own and I saw that I could earn bigger income.”

“Well, I decided to take the plunge. I opted to go into dairying full-time,” he added.

His wife, Helen Grace, 34, agreed with his decision.

Eli’s dairy buffaloes are purebred Brazilian Murrah. The animals were loaned to him by the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in 2011 when he joined the Eastern Primary Multi-purpose Cooperative (EPMPC) in their village.

Although Eli started raising dairy buffalo in 2011, the business was not totally new to him since he used to help his uncle who owned several dairy buffaloes.

From one dairy buffalo, Eli’s herd has grown to 19 animals to date.

Daily income in dairying

When Eli started milking his animals, he collected about five to seven liters from one carabao per day. Since January this year, however, his milk collection peaked to nine liters from one animal per day when he started to milk his carabaos twice daily, a technique he learned from PCC.

Because of this, the former sales agent now earns some Php25,000 a month from his six lactating dairy buffaloes. He expects to see an increase once his four other female buffaloes get pregnant too.

Three years into their buffalo-based business, Eli and his family have seen a lot of improvement in their lives.

He repaired and expanded the pen housing his buffaloes. He was also able to purchase additional land that is now planted with napier grass for his animals.

His income in dairying afforded him to also fund his onion business that earns him almost Php50,000 in one season.

Instead of him receiving a salary, Eli now pays two assistants who help him in the dairy enterprise.

Eli is convinced about the benefits of dairying. Thus, he wants to expand his herd like his uncle-mentor Marcelino Mislang, a successful PCC-assisted dairy farmer whose herd of Murrah buffaloes has considerably grown over the years.

Eli may no longer have the chance of becoming a company supervisor or receiving bonuses. But if he lost a good, stable job, he has gained a much better opportunity.

“Because of buffalo’s milk, I now have a lifetime business,” Eli gratefully declared.