Proper pasture management plays vital role in Higher productivity, profitability of buffaloes

Pasture managers consider feeding of sufficient forage for livestock, specifically dairy buffaloes, as an important factor in attaining healthier and good-performing animals.

They correctly discern that implementing good pasture management and grazing principles increase forage quality and yield, provide a more wholesome place for the grazing of buffaloes and improve their performance. They also know that they prevent the occurrence of nutritional problems that eventually affect their productivity.

Moreover, according to experts, healthy pastures are beneficial to the owners, animals and the environment. They prevent erosion and water loss that lead to land degradation. In maintaining a good healthy pasture, soil nutrients and pH are managed well, and forage growth and the animals’ are consumption are closely monitored.

In this regard, pasture managers of two regional centers of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), hosted by Visayas State University (PCC at VSU) in Leyte and Central Mindanao University (PCC at CMU) in Bukidnon, have their corresponding ways in managing their respective pasture areas to maintain good production of the buffaloes in their institutional herds.

Pasture area

PCC at VSU utilizes some 12 hectares of land for grazing of buffaloes and another three hectares for the growing of grasses that are cut and carried to the animals. The area has a rolling topography.

According to Prof. Francisco Gabunada Jr., former center director of PCC at VSU and currently a consultant of PCC on forage development, pasture or forages are the cheapest and most stable (can be available year-round) sources of feed for ruminants. Ruminant production based on forages is not only economical but can also lead to safe and healthy products.

He added that forages can supply all the nutrients required by the animal at a relatively low cost, thereby enabling adequate production with increased profit.

The existing forages in their pasture area are guinea grass, humidicola, napier, shrubs, rensonii, flemingia, ipil-ipil and legumes. Grasses that cannot be fed to buffaloes are uprooted, he further revealed.

On the other hand, PCC at CMU has 45 hectares of pasture area but soon, through a memorandum of agreement between the regional center and the university, this will be expanded to 70 hectare. It has a flat land area in which some parts are surrounded with trees.

The predominant pasture grasses present in the area are Brachiaria decumbens or signal grass, Brachiaria brizantha and Brachiaria humidicola. At least three hectares are now planted to napier grass, according to Dr. Lowell Paraguas, PCC at CMU center director.

Grazing rotation

One management option to promote a healthy pasture and good forage for grazing buffaloes is to implement rotational grazing, Prof. Gabunada said. This involves using cross fences to divide the pasture into separate units which are called paddocks. Animals are allowed to graze on a paddock and are then moved to the next paddock. As one paddock is being grazed, the other paddocks have the opportunity to recover and grasses can reestablish.

Rotational grazing involves periodically moving livestock to fresh paddocks to allow pastures to regrow. It requires skillful decisions and close monitoring of their consequences. Feed costs decline and the animal’s health is improved when they are allowed to feed by way of a well-managed rotational grazing system.

Another benefit to rotational grazing is that new growth will be much more nutritious and digestible for grazing animals, the experts said.

“The pastures in PCC at VSU were established vegetatively using manual labor. The species we selected was one that was commonly growing well in the surrounding areas. We used relatively small paddocks to assure high utilization rates. After grazing, we cut back the grass as a strategy for the fast regrowth of the forage, and fertilization is done; both will assure adequate regrowth. A pasture that has been grazed will be given adequate time to recover by leaving it undisturbed for 30-45 days,” Prof. Gabunada added.

The grazing hours for the buffaloes in PCC at VSU is from 6 a.m. to 10 a. m. It has a total of 66 paddocks. After foraging in the first paddock for 4 hours, the animals are scheduled to feed in another paddock the next day. Only the growing, lactating and pregnant animals are allowed to graze as they need to be fed with fresh grasses. Bulls and dry buffaloes are confined and fed with rice straws and concentrates.

Andres Amihan Jr., PCC at VSU science research analyst and farm manager, said that after four hours of grazing, the buffaloes are brought down to the barn for wallowing and bathing. In the afternoon, they are given concentrates and napier grasses through cut-and-carry system.

“We have a grazing rotation for more than one month. Grasses like guinea, humidicola and napier regrow within 45 days, so we have 45 days of grazing rotation but we have a total of 66 paddocks therefore we still have 21 paddocks as our back-up for this practice,” Amihan explained.

“Proper feeding management has a very important role in the milk production and performance of buffaloes. If we want positive outcomes, we should do proper feeding and pasture management,” Amihan added.

Forages that are rich in protein and fiber are the best feedstuff for buffaloes. The average milk produce of each buffalo in their herd is about six liters and 12-15 liters at peak lactation periods.

Extensive management system

The PCC at CMU implements a full-time grazing system for its more than 40 milking cows with an average milk production of six liters a day or 19 liters at peak lactation periods. The only time the animals are returned to total confinement is when they reach their dry-off period. Currently, the center has a total herd inventory of 330 buffaloes.

“The milking cows are fed with very minimal amount of concentrates at the time of milking. After each milking session, they rest for a while before herding them back to the paddocks to allow the closing of their teats’ orifice. This prevents the udders from being infected,” Dr. Paraguas said.

The center has 40 hectares of grazing area with 30 paddocks. Each paddock is one hectare wide and is planted to 1-3 varieties of grasses like signal grass, Brizantha, and Arachis pintoi that can feed 40 dairy cows in a day.

“We are set to establish 30 hectares of napier grass plantation as additional forage and I just recently acquired five 25-kg bags of signal grass from Australia for our planting material. The seeding rate of one hectare is 6-8 kg of signal grass. One bag of it can be planted to five hectares of land,” Dr. Paraguas said.

The center also plans to develop forage garden along the highway. “We will plant varieties of forage grasses and legumes. We want to help our farmer-cooperators in acquiring new accession of grasses,” he added.

A part of their pasture development is the planting of legumes like Arachis pintoi and the utilization of animal manure as fertilizer.

“You can see the need of the animal by just looking at its body. You will know there is something wrong with the feeding in terms of its body condition score (BCS). For me, if you don’t have a good pasture area, you will encounter a lot of problems on the animal’s reproductive performance and milk production,” he declared.

Proper feed resources should meet the nutritive values necessary for the animals’ maintenance, lactation, reproduction, growth and good health condition. Dairy animals are in need of important nutrients such as energy, protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and vitamin A. Thus, the center is focusing on the mineral supplementation, especially for the milking cows.

“We are supplementing concentrates but we are also planning to reduce its cost so we are establishing a good pasture. We will now invest more on pasture development,” he revealed.

Improvement of feeding management, he reiterated, is very crucial especially if the buffaloes are pregnant and the feeding system is inadequate. The calves produced might have poor BCS and might be susceptible to diseases if good feeding management is not attended to.

The center also is facing some challenges in the establishment of pasture area, according to Dr. Paraguas. They need to have equipment and machineries in putting fertilizers like manure spreader and loader. They are also planning to make the pasture area irrigated.

On the farmer’s level, Dr. Paraguas has this reminder:

“They cannot adopt this kind of grazing system for now because they only have a small pasture area but they can adopt the cut-and-carry system. They will plant napier grass and these new accession of grasses. They need to learn how to plant forage for their animals and how to maintain the year round forage supply so we need to teach them. They also need to develop their observation scale, such that just by one look they will immediately know the problem with their feeding system.”

He added:

“They should also know the needed level of dry matter content for the animal to not be drained during milking. The recommended dry matter content is 4-6% of the animal’s body weight for maintenance but if they want to add DM, it should be based on the animal’s milk yield.”

He added that before raising buffaloes, the farmers should also have an established pasture area for the source of forage and that the supply of grasses should be available year-round. Utilization of new varieties of grasses, and not settling to just one variant, is also important.

“We planted one hectare of napier as source of planting materials for our dairy farmers,” he said.

New variety of pasture grass

As part of the pasture development of PCC at CMU, Dr. Paraguas acquired new varieties of pasture grasses, namely: Brachiaria Cultivar (Cv.) Mulato II and Panicum maximum Mombasa (improved guinea grass) from the smallhold dairy cattle farmers of the National Dairy Authority. The center started planting them last November.

“I took part in some focus group discussions with the farmers since they have concerns on animal nutrition in which I contributed ideas. I acquired the new varieties of pasture grasses from them because they have this RP-New Zealand Dairy Project, a support program of the New Zealand government for small-hold dairy cattle farmers. They brought with them this new variety of grasses and identified focus farmers as to where they will plant the new variety so that other dairy farmers will see its nutritional value. I asked for some planting materials and planted it on a certain portion of our pasture area,” he expounded.

Currently, the new variety is not fed to the buffaloes yet as it is intended for the forage nursery. It is still under the multiplication process so that it will be soon planted on a larger area.

They tried to feed the grass to the weanlings from 6 months to 18 months of age and found out that they are the most palatable grasses. They said the animals immediately consumed all the grasses and they have higher dry matter intake compared to other grasses.

“They provide a lot of nutritional value to the buffaloes since they are already the improved variety of grasses. They have high crude protein (CP) and dry matter,” Dr. Paraguas said.

Cv. Mulato II, according to the Hancock Seed Company, has excellent nutritional characteristics in terms of CP content and digestibility. It was developed from three generations of hybridization and selection initiated in 1989 by the Forage Project of the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), in Cali, Colombia, commencing with the original B. ruziziensis x B. decumbens cross then commercially released by Grupo Papalotla in 2004. It is reported to be highly palatable to grazing ruminants.

Although both parameters vary depending on the age of the grass and the time of the year, in general, this grass yields 14-21% CP and its in vitro dry matter digestibility in regrowths of 25-35 days is 55-66%.

Because of its superior quality and excellent production, Mulato II is suitable for intensive rotational management. Voluntary intake of the grass is high, which results in significantly greater milk production compared with other brachiaria cultivars. The recovery capacity of this grass is high, requiring rest periods of just 21-28 days during the rainy season.

On the other hand, according to the Tropical Seed Company, Mombasa guinea grass is a tall grass, similar to hybrid Napier grass in habit, but far more leafy and is very suitable for cut-and-carry. It was introduced in Brazil from Tanzania in 1993. It is a very productive leafy grass, producing between 20 and 40 t/ha dry matter per year. In Thailand, it has 8% to 12% crude protein on poor soils and 12% to 14% crude protein on better soils. It can be either rotationally grazed or set-stocked or used on cut-and-carry basis.

“I am one of the witnesses of what these new varieties can bring. I observed the improvement in the milk yield of the cattle of the farmers by feeding these improved pasture grasses. From 5-6 liters, it jacked up to 10-12 liters,” Dr. Paraguas said.

This rainy season, he said, he is planning to buy sacks of these varieties from the farmers and plant them in PCC at CMU’s pasture area. He added that the developed pasture area can result in improved milk production and performance of the buffaloes.

PCC strengthens link with LGUs, PVO in N.E. to achieve 2-M liters milk harvest by 2016

Starting October, various local government units (LGUs) in Nueva Ecija, in coordination with the provincial veterinary office (PVO), are expected to gather, consolidate and submit reports regarding the total herd inventory of native, crossbred and purebred carabaos in their respective towns to the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC).

This was the main outcome of an integration meeting attended by representatives from  various LGUs, the PVO and village-based artificial insemination technicians (VBAITs) last September 3 at the PCC national headquarters and gene pool in the Science City of Muñoz, N.E.

Titled “Carabao-based Enterprise Development (CBED) program for target 2 million liters of milk in Nueva Ecija by 2016 integration meeting”, the activity was organized by the Dairy Herd Improvement Program and Enterprise Development unit at the National Impact Zone (DHIP-ED at NIZ) and CBED unit of the PCC.

The meeting was held as part of the agency’s overall efforts to further strengthen its partnership with LGUs and the PVO aimed at achieving its goal of two million liters of milk harvest by 2016.

Matters discussed during the meeting included PCC’s CBED program, breeding and artificial insemination in Nueva Ecija, agency services and current challenges that need to be met in light of the targeted milk harvest by 2016.

Estella P. Valiente, community development officer I, explained PCC’s CBED. She emphasized that the program aims to give farmers additional income from carabao’s meat, milk and hide, provide the communities with better nutrition and improve the general well-being of the rural farm families through the conservation, propagation and promotion of the carabao.

On the other hand, Dr. Fe Venturina, AI coordinator based at PCC-Central Luzon State University (PCC-CLSU), discussed matters related to the breeding program, which involves continuous backcrossing.

“In Nueva Ecija alone, technicians PCC at CLSU, along with the VBAITs, inseminate 5,000 carabaos every year,” she revealed.

“Data show that our calf drop is about 30%. To be able to reach our goal, we need to provide 8,000 AI services and have 2,400 lactating animals on the ground annually,” she emphasized.

“Therefore, carabao inventories are important so that we know where to find carabaos that need to be inseminated, aside from our established data on the purebred and some crossbreds as well as native animals,” she added.

Mario Delizo, field technician of PCC’s DHIP-ED at NIZ, presented and discussed PCC services and the challenges that need to be met in order to achieve the target of two million liters of milk harvest by 2016 in Nueva Ecija.

He pointed out that PCC’s services include project monitoring, linkaging with public and private sectors, marketing, milk collection, training, provision of planting materials for forage, breeding services (AI and bull loan) and other related technical services.

The challenges that PCC is currently facing mainly involve provision of animal health services (vaccination and deworming in particular), emergency treatment for buffaloes due to PCC’s limited staff in DHIP-ED at NIZ, report generation from dairy cooperatives, and up-to-date inventory of all breedable native and crossbred carabaos.

Various LGU’s and the PVO committed to assist the PCC in providing animal health services to the farmers’ carabaos and continuously updating and submitting carabao inventories. They also vowed to help the PCC in monitoring and reporting various data and information needed by the agency.

Dr. Felomino V. Mamuad, PCC deputy executive director; and Dr. Peregrino Duran, head of PCC’s DHIP-ED at NIZ gave messages during the opening and closing rites, respectively, of the event.

Mamuad pointed out the importance of carabao inventories and the need to solve the issue on genetically improved carabaos that are being sold outside the province.

“We should know how we can avoid the scenario wherein our farmers sell their genetically superior animals to other provinces. We want our province to maintain the best of the best of our stocks and that we’re the first one to produce the Philippine Murrah Buffalo in the future. I hope that this meeting will strengthen our partnership to attain that purpose and we’ll also able to gather all the inventories of our carabaos in N.E. for us to achieve our two million milk harvest target by 2016,” he declared

Duran, on the other hand, thanked all the participants who attended the meeting. He emphasized the importance of the vital role of all concerned entities in meeting the two million liters of milk target. He also expressed the hope that the collaborative efforts would help sustain the development of the dairy industry in Nueva Ecija.

Carabao rises to new-found importance as farmers’ ‘beast of fortune’

From “beast of burden” to “beast of fortune”, that’s how the carabao has evolved after centuries of neglect, near extinction, low-regard and playing second fiddle to farm machines.

To most farmers, the carabao is a mainstay in farm works. It is his tractable, reliable and uncomplaining ally in myriads of works in the field. It is also harnessed as the farmer’s steady power behind transport or cargo facilities, like the kariton (cart) and kareta (sled), in the rural

areas. No wonder the animal was dubbed “beast of burden”.

Without it, the farmer feels he is only half a farmer because he knows the carabao is a reliable partner that ungrudgingly helps him till the farm land with the use of the plow, pulverizes it with the use of the harrow, levels it with the use of wooden planks, and cultivates even difficult terrains in preparation to for the planting of crops season upon season.

The crops are mostly rice and, to some extent, corn, vegetables, sugarcane and tobacco.

After being dislodged off some of the most important farm works by small farm machineries, the carabao has not only made a successful comeback but has gained added significance to millions of farmers – thanks to the unflagging efforts of Filipino scientists, a government which paid unprecedented attention for its upgrading, and the men and women who are continuously working for its welfare. This animal now has a new-found importance, that of changing lives of people and of providing a source for the burgeoning of vibrant carabao-based enterprises in the country.

Leap in carabao’s milk contribution

“Over the years, we didn’t see the contribution of the carabaos in the local dairy production. But now, their contribution is 34% and still increasing,” Dr. Arnel del Barrio, acting PCC executive director, said.

The flow of milk comes from the upgraded draft-type to dairy breed-type of carabaos

Take the case of Andypoe Garcia, a farmer in Sitio Mapiña, Magalang, Pampanga who collects 14 liters of milk a day for three months from his crossbred carabao during peak period and seven to eight liters during the rest of the 10-month lactation period. He has more than 20 other dairy carabaos although they average a little less than his prized carabao.

He sells the milk in a sweets and pastries’ establishment in Angeles City at P80 a litter.

And there’s the nonpareil dairy farmer in Gen. Trias, Cavite, Francisco Solis, who used to deliver milk yield from his dairy animals using an owner-type jeep. Today he does the same chore – using a seven-figure van.

Solis, a dirt-poor farmer, used the money raised from his wedding gifts to buy one carabao in 1991. Over time he built a herd of 23 dairy carabaos and with it, a fortune that has so far enabled him to acquire four passenger jeepneys, an L-200 van, tricycles, hand tractors, threshers, a store and a bakery.

In San Jose City, Melchor Correa earns P2,500 a day for milking twice his six carabaos.

Correa heads a dairy cooperative which produces various milk products for sale to the public.

More than 50 dairy carabao cooperatives banded themselves into the “Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperatives” (NEFEDCCO), which runs a milk processing plant in Talavera, Nueva Ecija. The plant earns a handsome annual income from the processing of the milk turned in by its member-coops into various milk products.

In most areas, the carabao’s milk has an ex-farmgate price of P50 to P60 a liter.

“In terms of carabao meat, our carabao slaughter rate was formerly 11% to-12% but it has gone up to 16%. On the other hand, the importation (of carabao’s meat) is not increasing although the demand is increasing and that means it is another big contribution of the carabaos to the country’s economy,” Del Barrio said.

He said a number of bigger projects to firm up the rise of the carabao as source for varied fortunes are pursued by the PCC. One of these is the implementation of the multiplier farm concept wherein 50 quality dairy carabaos are provided to qualified individuals or groups to further promote the advancement of the carabao development program.

“Under the agreement, these farms will provide all the inputs in tending the animals and turn-over their first offspring to the PCC. They are expected to put up viable enterprises from the milk they will collect from the animals and from the other offspring of the animals,” del Barrio said.

The first such farm has already been established in Javier town in Leyte, the second in a Tarlac town, he added.

Another project being pursued is the establishment of dairy carabao hubs in various parts of the country. These hubs, he said, promotes a well-oiled business chain involving the provision of credit, forage production, breeding, products development, promotion, marketing, and other aspects related to a robust dairy carabao business.

“For one, a forage industry for dairy carabaos must get going. We know that the dairy carabaos can turn out big flows of milk if they are fed well. As you can see, the farmers have limited resources for abundant supply of nutritional feed,” del Barrio pointed out.

He also said: “The day is not too far when we shall have produced our Philippine Dairy Buffalo breed which is comparable to the best water buffalo breed in the world.”

For sure, that Philippine Dairy Buffalo would be unique in the world as it is a “three-in-one carabao” – for milk, meat and draft power.

Swamp-type water buffalo

Written history indicated that the Philippines imported carabaos from China in the mid-1500. Theories, however, pointed out that in the country’s history, the first migrants to the country brought with them ancient flora and fauna. For the fauna they brought in, the commonly called “water buffalo” elsewhere in the world was among them.

This animal, according to published archeological findings, was domesticated some 7,000 years ago in the Chekiang province of China. It was of two types – the swamp buffalo and the riverine buffalo.

Both types have distinct and similar descriptions and characteristics. Their body anatomy is generally the same but their chromosomes differ – the riverine type with 50 and the swamp-type, 48. The riverine-type has a black body color and with curled horn while the swamp-type, dark gray and with horns that extend outward and curl backwards like in semi-circle form.

It was the swamp-type that was brought to the country which, by its nature, is excellent for its draft usability. The riverine-type, like those found in India, Pakistan, and in the Mediterranean areas, is for meat and milk.

On Philippine soil, this animal earned the unique name “carabao”. Recent studies on the lineage of the Philippine carabao indicated that it descended from the maternal line of the Chinese buffaloes.

The name carabao is surmised to have come from the Visayan or Cebuano word karabaw which was apparently from kerbau, the Malaysian and Indonesian local name for the water buffalo.

Recently, PCC officials agreed to adopt the name “kalabaw” or carabao in order not create confusion in promoting this animal. They noted that the farmers tended to refer to the native carabao as “kalabaw” and the upgraded and purebred dairy animal as “buffalo”.

Contribution in farm works

“The estimated value of the contributed draft power of the carabao is at US$ 1.48 million (Php21 billion),” said Dr. Libertado C. Cruz, former executive director of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), quoting a research study in 2002 said.

“This contribution was divided in the production of rice, corn, coconut, and sugarcane and some other crops in smaller values”, he added.

About 66 percent of the population the Philippines used the carabao for farm works based on that study, Cruz added.

Yet for all the significant role in Philippine agriculture and in supporting the lives of farmers and their families, the carabao’s existence suffered natural and man-occasioned misfortunes that almost wiped out its population more than a century ago.

In the early 1900, diseases, particularly rinderpest, swept through the animal’s population. As if conspiring to that ill-fortune, locust infestation damaged the vegetation that resulted in the poor dietary supply for the animal. Almost 90 percent of its population was wiped out because of the disease and the calamity.

The locust infestation, particularly, was viewed with alarm by foreign entities worrying about the economy and instability of the country. It thus merited prominence in one of the issues of the New York Times in the latter part of 1902. The paper’s story for the carabao’s adversity carried this headline: Dearth of Field Animals. Pest has Almost Exterminated Carabaos in the Philippines. Agriculture at a Standstill.

But like the resilient people and nation that we are, life moved on for the carabao. In time, its population increased.

During the last World War, however, another catastrophe befell on the carabao. Japanese officials suspected that the carabao was being used by the Filipino guerrillas for transporting weapons and goods in aiding American soldiers. The massacre of the carabao was ordered. Bullets found their marks on the hapless animal. All told, about two million carabaos were killed.

Their breed, too, suffered.

“The farmers, wanting to have bigger and sturdier animals, usually castrated the best of their bulls. As a result, lesser quality bulls were left for mating and for the propagation of their species,” Cruz said.

Their nutritional needs and health care likewise were not well-attended by the farmers, he added. Their offspring declined in size and weight. And their draft power too.

Saving the carabao

It was not all a lost cause for the carabao. In fact, significant developments took place in the last 42 years that eventually catapulted the carabao to new heights.

Filipino scientists took the cudgels for the improvement of the breed and proper care for the carabaos. Then the Philippine legislature passed a unique law that gave prominent attention for the improvement and propagation of this animal.

From a tiny step, that of including a study on the carabao’s breed, population and health under the beef-chevon research and development studies, developed bigger concerns for this animal.

“That was in 1973 when the then Philippine Council for Agricultural Resources Research (PCARR) undertook that step,” said Dr. Patricio Faylon, former executive director of the council, in his published account about the carabao’s development in the country.

Three years later, a Carabao Commodity Team was formed by PCARR and was allotted funds for its R&D efforts, he added.

Then in 1981, with a funding provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization-United Nations Development Program (FAO-UNDP), the “Strengthening of the Philippine Carabao Research and Development Center” was implemented.

The center, among others, was meant to strengthen institutional capabilities in the testing of the performance of crossbreds, which are the offspring of the crossing of the dairy-type buffalos with that of the native carabao.

In its terminal report a decade later, the center reported: “The farmers attested that the developed crossbreds possess relatively higher capacity to produce milk, better growth, and having more meat without lessening the animal’s draftability.”

It further cited in the report the following:

    • the Murrah buffalo-Philippine carabao crosses (50:50) have relatively greater capacity to grow and produce milk than the native carabao
    • at 24 months, the crossbred weighed 216.46 kilograms or 28 percent higher than the weight of the native carabao
    • in terms of draftablity, there is no difference in performance between the native carabaos and Murrah grades, suggesting that the introduction of Murrah blood to improve the milk production does not have detrimental effect on the ability of the animal to perform work
    • some crossbred calves were observed to weigh 34 kg at birth, the female, 26.65 kg. The male native carabao calves were 23.54 kg at birth, the female, 23.42 kg
    • some matured crossbreds weighed 700 kg with the females having potentials of 10 to 12 liters of milk production per day.

But that was not all that the center spawned in so far as addressing the carabao’s improvement was concerned. A bill for the institutionalization of the carabao improvement program was filed in Congress authored principally by then Sen. Joseph Estrada. Subsequently, the “Philippine Carabao Act of 1992” (RA 7307) was passed which, among others, authorized the establishment of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) to “conserve, propagate, and promote the carabao as source of draft power, meat, and hide for the benefit of smallhold farmers.”

On March 27, 1993 the PCC was officially created as an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture. The PCC from then on embarked on a program of upgrading the farmers’ native carabaos through the oldest known biotechnology, artificial insemination (AI), and through bull loan program and modern reproductive biotechnologies.

“Your country has developed a unique water buffalo, a three-in-one carabao. It produces more milk, it’s heavier and meatier, and it still retains its draft ability,” Dr. Surendra Ranjhan, a former FAO consultant and chief technical adviser of the UNDP, said in an interview when he visited PCC in 2014.

The economic life of the farmers raising dairy carabaos have improved a lot, Ranjhan added.

“They not only vastly improved their houses, bought farm machines and motorcycles, but were able to send their children to college,” he said.