PCC Dairy Box: Oozes with ‘Pandora’s’ healthy buffalo milk’s treats

Derived buffalo milk products are now made closer to the market for easy reach of customers and to generate favorable environment for enterprise development. It is “Pandora’s Box” of healthy treat and is aptly named “Dairy Box Delicatessen” located along Maharlika Highway, near the main headquarters of Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in the Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija.

It is managed by a dairy cooperative. It was launched by the PCC, through its Business Development and Commercialization Unit (BDCU), as a venue that focuses on marketing quality products made by local dairy cooperatives.

According to Dr. Arnel N. Del Barrio, PCC acting executive director, the one-stop-shop is about empowering the dairy farmers to continuously grow and flourish through provision of opportunities for value-adding to their products in order to ensure additional income.

The name “dairy box”, coined by Dr. Liza Battad, chief of PCC’s Planning and Information Management Division, connotes a “box of goodness”.

Its soft-opening was held last July 13 while the grand opening was on July 31.

‘Blessing in disguise’

The cooperative managing the newly-opened delicatessen shop is the Catalanacan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CAMPC), one of the assisted dairy cooperatives of PCC in Nueva Ecija which is the National Impact Zone for dairy buffalo development. Catalanacan is one of the barangays of the Science City of Muñoz.

“Sometimes, opportunity knocks only once in a lifetime. So without any second thoughts, I grabbed the offer to our cooperative to manage it,” Leoncio Callo, CAMPC chairman, said.

The coop has its own processing plant, which was established in October 2014. Chairman Callo, along with the members, has been looking for a product’s outlet when fortuitously he attended a seminar that provided opportunity to meet and converse with Dr. Del Barrio.

“We talked about our cooperative. He then asked me why we are not selling our products in the town to which I responded that I’ve been actually looking for a place where we can do so,” Callo said.

Then, he said, the director asked him “if given an opportunity to lease a product’s outlet, will he consider it favorably?”

“I said I would definitely grab the opportunity since it’s a chance our coop has been waiting for. Then, he told me something about the PCC’s dairy box which is open to any cooperative interested to rent it. He described the dairy box and its advantages to the farmers like me,” Callo added.

The offer was also sent out to other coops that have processing facilities but it was Callo who showed intense interest in it.
One of the agreements spelled out was that the “Dairy Box” will not duplicate products being processed and sold by the adjacent Milka Krem, which is PCC product’s outlet. The agreement with PCC was firmed up and the CAMPC, with a month’s free rental, started operating it.

“My dream, not only for our cooperative but also to all dairy farmers, is to help them attain increased income by processing the milk into different products,” he said.

Other than dairying, CAMPC also has other businesses like palay trading, vermicomposting, lending and others.

Dairy Box operations

The CAMPC has seven original products available at Dairy Box, which include espasol de leche which is sold at Php85 per box, sweet macapuno for Php60; macaroons for Php65, leche flan plan for Php75, bibingkang kanin for Php75, bibingkang gatas for Php75, and bibingkang kanin with pandan flavor for Php75. All of them, with carabao’s milk as main ingredient, carry the brand name “MilKreations”.

The coop processes an average of 30-36 liters of carabao’s milk per day for these various products.

Other buffalo-based products available at the “Dairy Box Delicatessen” which were from consigned local entrepreneurs are polvoron, for Php65 and buko pie, for Php50, both from Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Copperative, and leche flan with macapuno flavor, for Php75; chicharabao, for Php60; tibok-tibok, for Php85; dulce de leche’ for Php75; sapin-sapin; for Php85, and brownies, for Php135.

The best-sellers among them, as have been recorded by the management, are espasol de leche, bibingkang kanin, bibingkang gatas, and chicharabao (a product sourced from Cagayan’s Lighthouse Cooperative).

“Carabao’s milk is definitely the best base for these products because of its creaminess and nutritional contents,” Callo attested.

According to the financial statement of the coop, the Dairy Box, from its opening date to October, has already chalked up a net income of not less than Php300,000. Its minimum average sale per day is Php9,000 while its peak sale is Php32,000 a day.

Aside from the distinct taste of the products, good customer’s service by the staff appears to be a big advantage in attracting customers to patronize the establishment’s products.

Assistance from PCC

The PCC continuously assists the coop by conducting series of trainings for business enhancement, giving consultations, assisting in marketing aspect, promotional activities, and properly packaging the products.

For the aspiring consigners, the PCC product evaluation team composed of four members headed by Ms. Mina P. Abella, PCC at Central Luzon State University science research specialist II, conducts sensory evaluation testing of the proposed products before marketing.

“The taste of carabao’s milk should be distinct. We are following standards with a passing grade of 7.5 on sensory evaluation,” Jan Czarina Salas, one of the members of the evaluation team and BDCU business development analyst, said.

The evaluation is done every Thursday.

“We have evaluation forms for the consigners. They bring in their products and we will log and evaluate them, tabulate the results and notify them through text if the products did pass or not. If their products passed the evaluation, the developers talk to chairman Callo regarding the pricing, delivery, payments and others,” Salas said.

The developers of the products that didn’t pass the evaluation are advised on how to improve them and submit them again for another round of evaluation.

Other members of the team are Patrizia Saturno, central milk processing plant manager, and Zadieshar Sanchez, BDCU project evaluation officer.

Product development

CAMPC is open for suggestions and critiques from customers about the taste of its products, Callo said. The customer’s feedbacks, he added, will goad them to further improve the product’s per customer’s preference.

“There are other customers who are looking for unusual taste from our products, and we welcome it. We certainly entertain them to meet their expectations,” Callo said.

Future plans

Chairman Callo is hoping that they will open more branches of Dairy Box in the country. He observed that for their three months of operation, the acceptance by the public and the sales are quite good.

“If we can rent another shop for our product’s outlet in Cabanatuan City, that will be great. We believe that in any business enterprise, one doesn’t have to stick to only one because it will be slow a progress,” he stressed.

The Dairy Box, according to Callo, will soon offer different flavors of Bibingkang kanin every month depending on the seasonality of ingredients and the needed innovations for the products.

For all aspiring entrepreneurs, chairman Callo has this to say:

“Don’t be afraid to try and challenge yourselves. Grab every opportunity that comes your way. Have enough courage to venture in your preferred business, expect the ups and downs, but always remember that whenever you feel down you can always bounce back because there are a lot of agencies that are willing to help. Look above, God is always with us to guide us, and believe in yourself. Success is always there for your taking.”

Urdaneta City reaffirms commitment on carabao dairying, holds 1st KALAMILK fest

The City of Urdaneta renews its support to local dairy farmers through the launching of the 1st KALAMILK food festival as an avenue to promote carabao-based dairy products. The festival coincided with the celebration of the City’s 18th charter anniversary held at the Urdaneta Convention and Sports Center on March 15.

City Mayor Amadeo Gregorio E. Perez IV said in his welcome remarks that the event was created to recognize the efforts of Urdaneta dairy farmers and as a way of realizing its target to lead the entire Pangasinan in carabao milk production.

The local government of Urdaneta partnered with the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in the debut of KALAMILK fest which was attended by representatives from local government and dairy cooperatives in Pangasinan, various private sectors, students of Urdaneta City University (UCU), and selected day care pupils.

PCC Acting Executive Director, Dr. Arnel N. Del Barrio expressed his support to the event saying that such an activity will inspire dairy farmers across the nation to sustain high production of carabao’s milk and encourage others to try dairy carabao production.

To sustain this effort, signing of a pledge of commitment to hold the festival annually was participated by the following officials in Pangasinan:  Ma. Anna Francisco, CESO V of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR); Gloria Torres, city schools division superintendent of Urdaneta City; Mesnaida Cundan, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); Felicidad Gan of the Department of Science and Technology  (DOST); Peter Manggaban, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); and Josefina Bitonio of Cooperative Development Authority.

To spice up the festival, the organizers prepared a giant white cheese and fresh carabao’s milk.

This was succeeded by milk feeding for day care pupils,  pastillas making demo and milk drinking contest whose winners each (daycare pupils, youth, and adult) received Php1000 worth of Milka Krem products.

Dairy chain model

Tulong Dairy Farmers Association (Tulong DFA), an organization of smallhold dairy farmers based in Urdaneta City is now up in improving its current production system after receiving additional support through an innovative strategic plan stipulated in a memorandum of agreement signed during the opening day of KALAMILK festival.

PCC at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University Director Gloria Dela Cruz headed the signing of the MOA which delineates a complete dairy chain model for Eastern Pangasinan.

Said plan will execute a dairy development modality for Tulong DFA in the field of smallhold dairy production, whereas PCC will provide technologies, technical support, and learning avenues for a sustainable carabao-based enterprise.

Lecture series

The second part of the 1st Kalamilk Festival was done in the afternoon with the conduct of lectures on ensuring milk quality along the supply chain and business entrepreneurship. The lectures were attended by various groups from the LGU, women’s league and students from UCU.

Mina Abella, PCC carabao-based products development expert, served as the resource speaker on good milk quality. She discussed techniques on how to avoid milk spoilage for milk quality assurance which spells out higher income.

On the other hand, Ofelia Castillo of DTI-Pangasinan gave the audience industry tips on how to start a business.

The event organizers said the 1st KALAMILK festival ultimately aims to stir attention of the communities in Pangasinan on the social and economic benefits of dairy carabao production among raisers. Through the annual event, they further explained, the dairy sector is served to boost production in the next years.


PCC at UPLB soon to host Milka Krem branch

True to its commitment of bringing marketing opportunities for the dairy farmers, the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) is soon to establish a Milka Krem branch in its regional center at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). The groundbreaking ceremony was held last March 6 beside the UPLB’s Baker Memorial Hall.

The Milka Krem is seen as a buffalo dairy products hub committed to produce nutritious and healthy yet affordable dairy products.

The 300-square meter facility that will house a 300-liter capacity dairy processing equipment is expected to be completely constructed by July.

For more than 20 years, PCC at UPLB has made accessible to consumers buffalo dairy products, complementing cow’s milk produced by the Animal and Dairy Sciences Cluster.

“PCC Milka Krem at UPLB will showcase profitable dairy processing technologies and quality control protocols that can be adopted and commercialized by private entrepreneurs or the business sector,” Dr. Arnel N. Del Barrio, PCC acting executive director,  said.

The dairy outlet will offer deliciously fresh and health-promoting dairy products such as fresh milk, choco milk, coffee milk, fruit-flavored juices, white cheese, mozzarella, pastillas de leche, assorted flavors of yoghurt and yoghurt drink, and ice cream.

Supplies of milk will be sourced from the milk collection and processing plant and from assisted-dairy cooperatives of PCC at UPLB.

Also present during the groundbreaking ceremony were Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez Jr., UPLB chancellor; Jose C. Canaria, PCC at UPLB officer-in-charge; Dr. Enrico P. Supangco, dean of UPLB-College of Agriculture, Oscar C. Mercado, OCM Steel Corporation contractor; UPLB Management Committee, and select staff from PCC at UPLB.


PCC lists 51st partner-cooperative

Provision of support for sustainable carabao-based enterprises in rural farming communities is one of the services of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) to its farmer clients. An example of which is the conduct of a social preparation training (SPT) for newly-formed cooperatives.

The most recent of which was done for Buklod ng Samahang Magsasaka (BSM) in Sitio Saudi, Brgy. Pias, General Tinio, Nueva Ecija last March 1 and 2.

Thus, BSM is now listed in the official records of the National Impact Zone (NIZ) as one of the 51 partner-cooperatives of PCC.

Ten pioneering members of BSM participated in the SPT including three representatives from the local government of General Tinio.

Ericson Dela Cruz, Carabao-based Enterprise Development (CBED) national coordinator shared his expertise on establishing a cooperative and carabao dairy production management based on the theme “Proyektong Pangkabuhayan Salig sa Kalabaw (Carabao-Based Livelihood Project).”

Among the topics that Dela Cruz discussed included the following: requirements in cooperative development, four pillars for the continuous success of the project, partnership for the cooperative-forming part; and determining appropriate body condition score of the dairy animal, dairy production and management, and inventory of animal-owners on feed resources of dairy animals.

He emphasized on the importance of daily strict monitoring to ensure that each member of the cooperative is contributing to the overall success of the enterprise. He said farmers should make it a habit to frequently watch over the animals in their care because this will ensure proper farm management.

The second day of the training was capped with a self and group assessments regarding farmers’ capability to implement the topics that were discussed in the first day.

Wilma Del Rosario, NIZ coordinator, assured the members of BSM during their graduation ceremony that PCC will do its best in terms of technical support provision to ensure that the partnership will be in the long term.

Estella Valiente and Carlo Tienzo, community development officer and CBED support staff, respectively, were among the representatives of PCC who joined Dela Cruz and Del Rosario in organizing the said training.