Sec. Alcala leads in inauguration of new PCC LIB complex

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has stressed the importance of possible and sustainable help from the government in addressing farmers’ problems.

He made the point in his remarks before leading in the ribbon-cutting and unveiling of the building marker of the new Livestock Innovations and Biotechnology (LIB) Complex of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) at its headquarters in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija on March 20.

“I will grab this opportunity to talk about our direction. Where is PCC heading to? Let’s have a complete program on how we will solve the problems. The government will definitely help. I can see efficient technicians, doctors, veterinarians here, let’s make use of their competence to guide us towards a sustainable roadmap. We want your group to expand,” he emphasized.

For his part, Dr. Arnel N. del Barrio, acting executive director, mentioned some of the latest steps taken by PCC as it continues to assist dairy buffalo farmers.

“We are very lucky because Sec. Alcala is here with us today to witness what has PCC achieved and become. Since our milk production this year jacked up plentifully, our solution is to award milk cooling tanks to the dairy farmer cooperatives to prolong the shelf life of the milk,” he pointed out.

Undersecretary for Operations Emerson U. Palad, Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Edilberto M. De Luna, and Regional Executive Director for DA-Regional Field Unit III and Dr. Andrew Villacorta were present during the occasion along withsome 200 dairy farmers, village-based artificial insemination technicians (VBAITs) and PCC staff.

In the course of his visit to PCC, Sec. Alcala awarded several cooling tanks to three dairy cooperatives, namely, Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Pulong Buli Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperatives. Each cooling tank has a capacity of 300 liters of milk.

The entrustment of additional buffaloes to Parcutela Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Gapan, Nueva Ecija and turnover of a multiplier dairy module to Agustin Multiplier Farm in Camiling, Tarlac was also done during the awarding ceremony.

Sec. Alcala likewise checked waste management through vermicast production as part of the integrated program in the organic farming of PCC’s National Gene Pool.

“There are more than 1,000 farming families that are involved in dairy buffalo production and postharvest. Last 2014, the recorded total milk production of Nueva Ecija was 520,000 liters. If we translate it in peso value, the province contributed Php19 million because of the milk from the genetically improved buffalo or crossbred. PCC significantly participates in the upgrading of breed of buffaloes to improve its milk production,” Dr. Liza Battad, chief of planning and special projects division, said.

On April 15, Sec. Alcala will hold a dairy carabao summit with farmers as well as PCC officials and experts for brainstorming, decision-making and discussion of matters and concerns on agriculture, including the rapid propagation of buffaloes and the setting up of an animal buy-back program.

San Jose City’s top dairy co-op inaugurates new shared service facility

The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) hopes that by 2016 the carabao fresh milk production level of the country’s buffalo dairy farmers shall have reached the two-million liter mark.

This was the optimistic forecast made by Dr. Arnel N. del Barrio. acting PCC executive director, in his message during the inauguration of the newly completed shared service facility of the Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative (EPMPC) of San Jose City, Nueva Ecija held March 18 at the co-op’s headquarters in Brgy. Sibut

The shared service facility houses the co-op’s refrigerators, freezers, cooking equipment and a new cooling tank donated by PCC. The unit was handed over by DA secretary Proceso Alcala to the co-op in a ceremony held March 20 at the PCC headquarters.

The cooling tank can store 300 liters of milk under a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius and can keep milk safe for three days.

The shared service facility was jointly put up by PCC, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the San Jose City local government unit.

The EPMPC was organized and accredited in 1992. It first ventured into farming onions and rice but due to the limited seasonal harvest of crops, its members were unable to cope with their loan obligations and the coop experienced serious financial problem. In 2000, the coop was granted by PCC a 25-head module of purebred dairy buffaloes and one bull. From that point on, the coop started its successful recovery.

The cooperative, which currently has 50 active members, registered an income of Php503,325 in 2014.

Noting that the EPMPC is among the top-performing dairy cooperatives being assisted by PCC, Del Barrio congratulated the cooperative for being the first coop to milk carabaos twice a day in the entire Philippines.

“Ngayon, sumasaludo na ako sa inyo, kayo pala talaga ang number one (dairy cooperative) [Now I salute you, you are the real number one],” del Barrio declared.

Aside from being a PCC-assisted group, the EPMPC is also a part of DAR’s Village Level Processing Center Enhancement Project (VLPCEP). The VLPCEP aims to help “develop market-competitive Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations’ products and enhance enterprise and livelihood activities at the community level in selected agrarian reform areas through assistance in product value-adding, improvement of facilities, and assistance in documentation and license application.”

In a statement during the program, Iryn R. Magcalas, VLPCEP regional director, said that being a part of the VLPCEP is not an easy feat. Every cooperative must pass a set of criteria to be included the project. Such criteria include the following: that a cooperative must have existing products and processing center, raw materials for products, must have a sustainable source, owns a lot and building that serve as its headquarters and if not, at least has the landowner’s permission for the coop’s building, products sold or the enterprise must have a regular market, and workers should have health certificates.

DAR deemed it worthy for the EPMPC to be part of the VLPCEP and started helping the co-op in 2014.

Also present in the event was Eladio L. Duran, DTI Nueva Ecija division chief. Aside from his brief congratulatory message, he donated in behalf of his department a refrigerator for milk storage.

For her part, San Jose City Mayor Marivic V. Belena recognized the carabao as a year-round source of income. She said that compared to rice and onions, which are also primary commodities of the city, the carabao can be a source of income for the whole year while the crops are only harvested bi-annually.

She also wished that someday, the city will be recognized for its being a top producer of carabao milk and hailed for its quality carabao milk products.

“Kaya po kami naging successful, tiningnan po namin ang gatas ng kalabaw [bilang] negosyo. Na sa negosyong ito ay walang lugi at may kita araw-araw. Di katulad ng palay at sibuyas na takot sa bagyo at ulan, lahat ng panahon ay pabor sa kaniya basta may tamang pag-aalaga at pagtingin sa kita [We became successful because we saw the carabao milk as a business. That in this business, there is no waste, everyday there is profit. Not like rice and onions that can be destroyed by storm and strong rains, all seasons are in favor of the carabao, so long as you give it proper care and treatment,” Melchor R. Correa, EPMPC chairman, said.

PCC, KOICA award additional grant-aid items to GenTri coop

The General Trias Dairy Raisers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (GTDRMPC) in General Trias, Cavite, an assisted-group of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), got an added boost with the recent turnover of several equipment and other items needed to further improve its operations.

In a simple ceremony held February 26 at the coop’s headquarters in Brgy. Santiago, Gen. Trias town, the PCC and its development partner, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), awarded to the coop the grant-aid items that included forage choppers, brush cutters and aluminum milk cans.

Dr. Arnel N. del Barrio, PCC acting executive director, and Sung Min Hyeon, KOICA resident representative, presented the items to Samuel Potante, GTDRMPC chairman, in the presence of GenTri Mayor Antonio ‘Ony’ A. Ferrer, other local government official, coop members and Son Soo Bin, KOICA senior volunteer, who identified and facilitated the grant-aid.

The General Trias Dairy Raisers Multi-Purpose Cooperative was established in 2005 with 44 original members. At the start, the co-op just rented a building that housed as its dairy processing and marketing facilities.

Eventually, the GenTri local government under then mayor and now 6th district Cavite Rep. Luis A. Ferrer IV, with the help of PCC, provided a lot where the cooperative set up its own processing and marketing center. Incumbent Mayor Ony Ferrer, who succeeded Rep. Ferrer, facilitated the acquisition of 38 head of carabao dairy heifers under PCC’s Modified Dairy Paiwi Program Module.

Through the years, the co-op, with the full support and active participation of its officers and members, continuously developed processed dairy products, which have become very saleable. This development pushed the Sangguniang Bayan of GenTri to declare dairy products as the municipality’s “One Town – One Product (OTOP)” under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) program.

At present, the GTDRMPC provides additional livelihood opportunities to its now almost 200 members. From an initial capital of about P14,000, the co-op currently has assets estimated to be worth some P1 million.