PCC, SEARCA conduct TOT workshop on writing effective knowledge products

The Philipppine Carabao Center (PCC) recently concluded a workshop on Training of Trainers (TOT) on Writing Effective Knowledge Products (KP) facilitated by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) as part of the PCC-SEARCA funded project, “Building Capacity and Strengthening Partnership for Carabao Development Program.”

The workshop took place on April 18-21, 2016 in Basco, Batanes.

The PCC commissioned project with SEARCA aims to organize national and regional learning events to generate and share knowledge on water buffalo production, management, and its contribution to socio-economic development.

The TOT workshop is a follow through workshop on knowledge management (KM) conducted among PCC center directors and regional coordinators to formulate a cross regional learning program and to set up thematic Communities of Practice (CoP). One of the major outputs from the latest KM workshop is the identification of KPs by select lead KP writers from the 12 PC network centers.

The one-week TOT workshop reviewed the foundational concepts and principles of KM, tackled various aspects of KP and how to develop it, technically evaluated KPs following PCC guidelines on KP production, and laid out. The milestones in KP production are in preparation for the National Knowledge Sharing Forum on Carabao Based Enterprise Development (CBED) to be held this November.

Through the workshop, the lead KP writers are also expected to serve as study leaders and technical editors during the production of KPs for presentation in the national forum and publication into a National CBED Compendium. The output will also serve as the proceedings of the national forum.

Dr Eric P. Palapac, head of the PCC Knowledge Management Division, emphasized during the workshop the need to acquire more knowledge. “We like PCC to have more robust knowledge. We should also include knowledge not only generated from PCC but from all other sources of knowledge. This knowledge should not be limited in the form of technical and scientific knowledge but global contextualized knowledge as well.”

Dr. Serafin S. Talisayon, KM policy planning specialist and project team leader served as the resource person of the workshop. He was joined by the SEARCA management group led by Dr. Maria Celeste H. Cadiz, program head, and Ms. Rosario B. Bantayan, program specialist, both from KMD; Ms. Nancy L. De Leon, program specialist and Ms. Sarah L. Quiñones, project associate, both from the SEARCA Project Development and Technical Services, extended valuable assistance on workshop logistics.

The workshop was attended by 25 participants from the 12 PC regional centers, PCC top officials and the PCC KMD.


La Latteria d’ Ischia Cheesy haven for lovers of world-class cheeses who need not go far

Cheese, a highly nutritious and a very palatable food, has been a popular dairy product for centuries. With its countless textures, flavors, and recipes, it is one of the most diverse types of food in the world.

In European countries, such as in Italy, cheese appears at almost every meal. Sometimes, it is incorporated as a garnish or an ingredient in dishes as diverse as pizzas or risottos and is served as a course on its own, or is paired with wine.

Cheesemaking is a method of preserving milk created in various forms. There are over 2,000 varieties of cheese developed over many centuries around the globe.

Italy has become one of the top cheese exporters to other countries. It is not just the variety but the unique taste of its cheeses that stands out for the consumers.

But one need not go as far as Italy, or make imports, to experience the best Italian cheeses. These world-class dairies are made available by La Latteria d’ Ischia, whose plant is based in Bulacan, using one quality ingredient abundantly available in the country – the water buffalo’s milk.

La Latteria d’ Ischia meaning “The Dairy of Ischia” is dedicated to producing the finest quality artisanal cheeses using the traditional cheese-making methods and techniques in Italy.

Artisan cheesemaking refers to the cheeses produced by hand using the traditional craftsmanship of skilled cheesemakers. As a result, the cheeses are often more complex in taste and variety. Many are aged or ripened to achieve certain aesthetics. These qualities contrast with the more mild flavors of mass-produced cheeses in large scale operations often shipped and sold right away.

This cheesemaking business is the result of years of dreaming and planning by cheesemaker and operator Marshall Mays, an American dairy entrepreneur who has lived in Asia for the past 30 years. He first visited the Philippines in 1978 and decided to spend the rest of his time in the country.

He started his career in dairy operations five years ago when he established the Dairy Innovative Partners, Inc. (DIP). It is an affiliate of the Hong Kong-based Pacific Organic Dairy Products.

The DIP is a high-quality Italian dairy company that sells its artisanal products in Metro Manila. It has been expanding its sales to other cities in the country and export markets in Asia. The operations run from managing a herd of dairy buffaloes, buying milk from dairy cooperatives, processing of cheese and yogurt under the brand name La Latteria d’Ischia and distributing these products to restaurants, hotels and export customers.

Premium Italian cheeses

Cheese lovers’ sophisticated taste buds are sure to be delighted with the premium Italian cheeses La Latteria produces. These cheeses have been classified into two kinds, the fresh and aged types.

Among the fresh cheeses are Mozzarella di Buffala, Burrata, Mascarpone Superiore, Primo Sale, Ricotta, Crema Toscana, Scamorza while the aged cheeses are Carabino (Paprika, Herb and Garlic), Caciocavallo, Appia Vecchia, Bufala Blues, Il Meglio Paese and Maronne di Veneto.
“We proudly offer the highest quality cheese possible. The cheeses that we make are all very special. There are only few manufacturers that make cheeses like these. We won’t put anything into the market until it passes our own internal standards. It has to be perfect,” said Mays.

These hand-made cheeses are produced in small batches in a small-scale modern dairy plant established in January 2015 in Guiguinto, Bulacan. The milk it uses in creating the cheeses comes from Eastern Primary Multi Purpose Cooperative (EPMPC) in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.

Each of the cheeses developed and sold by La Latteria d’ Ischia is described as follows:

The Mozzarella di Buffala is a fresh, succulent and soft textured buttery cheese. It goes well with salad, pasta, calzones, vegetables and various dishes.

The Burrata, meaning “buttery” in Italian, is a mix of mozzarella and cream. When it is cut open, the inside reveals a soft, creamy and buttery center filled with drops of golden whey, called “Goccie d’ Oro” to remind Italians what they are missing from home. It goes well with salads, fresh tomatoes with olive oil and crusty bread.

The Mascarpone Superiore is a smooth, sweet and light cream cheese that goes well in either sweet or savory dishes such as anchovy or a stuffing for grilled fish.

The Primo Sale is a semi-soft crumbly texture cheese blended with strands of fresh arugula greens or basil to create a light bitter contrast that freshens the flavor. It can be eaten as it is or added to fresh salad greens, fresh fruits, soup or melted over bread.

The Ricotta is light and sweet with distinct aroma made with whey that is produced while processing buffalo’s milk.

The Crema Toscana is a fresh soft cheese that is creamy, thick with a sharp blue cheese flavor without the veins.

The Scamorza is a semi-soft white cheese that is firm and has a slightly richer flavor than Mozzarella. It is hung to dry to develop a soft rind. It is commonly used to flavor baking dishes and paired well with Pinot Girgio or Orvieto.

The Carabino, a semi-hard seasoned cheese with a thick rind, is flavored with paprika, garlic and herb to balance out its rich authoritative flavor.

The Caciocavallo, literally translated as horse cheese, is a stretchable cheese that has a sweet and creamy texture, a perfect accompaniment to a glass of light wine and some seasoned bread or crackers.

The Il Meglio Paese is a popular appetizer or cheese used in pizza-making that has a rich, creamy and salty flavor.

The Appia Vecchia is a semi-hard seasoned cheese between Asiago and Fontina. Its nutty and buttery flavor comes from a long salt bath it takes before it is ripened. It can be grated or eaten in slices.

The Maronne di Veneto is a semi-soft seasoned cheese with a thin rind. It has a mild, tangy and fruity flavor that makes it as a best ingredient in salads or as a dressing and goes well when melted in risotto, quinoa or polenta.

The Bufala Blues, is a semi-soft seasoned blue-mold cheese like Gorgonzola. La Latteria’s version is called “Latte Dolce” which is a combined flavor of sweet and bitter. It can be melted over pizza and various pasta, including pasta fagioli.

Tested milk

“The milk collected daily is tested from the source as part of our quality control policy and we set feeding standards with our dairy handlers to produce the best quality milk for our products. Based on the results, we decide what cheese is best suited for it or we reject it for processing,” Mays said.

He said their processing plant maintains a sterile-technique production area and an above-the-standard protocol set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Apart from helping dairy farmers in Nueva Ecija to produce milk at global standards, the establishment also provides training to rural families by educating them on how to properly produce organic food. It collaborates with the residents of Gawad Kalinga (GK) communities.

“The collaboration with GK is the result of our efforts to help uplift the lives of the rural families. The GK has a big manpower but it lacks production skills and we are providing training with the hope of attaining the desired results,” Mays says.

He said they provide the training on cheesemaking using the techniques from Europe for the making of aged and natural cheeses that uses farm-fresh milk collected by the community.

Related to this, Mays also plans to send a small team of farmers from GK to undergo an on-the-job training in EPMPC to further expose them to actual dairy management and best practices and eventually become the teachers to other members of the community.

On the other hand, a verbal proposal of merging the dairy animals owned by the company to the program of EPMPC is ongoing.

“We believe that working with the local farmers and maintaining animal welfare are top priorities that create fine products and sustainable communities that are models of strong business. Not only are we supporting the local agricultural economies in the country but we are also adding value to the dairy industry and sharing the profits in local communities,” he said.

The growing list of their patrons speaks to their quality and reputation.

“We hope to expand our operation as our sales build up bit by bit. We are planning to put up a second plant up North so we can procure more milk from the countryside. We will also expand to certain places in the Visayas or in Mindanao in five years because there are great opportunities in there,” Mayssaid.

Senator Villar underscores PCC efforts in 19th Dairy Congress

In her keynote address during the 19th Dairy Congress and Expo (DairyConEx), Senate committee chairperson in Agriculture Cynthia Villar underscored the significant contribution of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) as one of the agencies leading the continuing progress of the local dairy industry.

“The Philippine Carabao Center has not wavered in its commitment to support dairy farming families in the countryside through support mechanisms in the areas of knowledge sharing, research, technologies, extension, production and management, product development, and market assistance,” Senator Villar said in her speech at the conference venue in Negros Oriental Convention Center in Dumaguete City, April 13.

When defending a proposed House Bill on Farm Tourism before a Senate hearing, Senator Villar said Senate President Frank Drillon asked her if she ever had come across with the best dairy tourism farm yet. The Senator replied: “Yes. I’ve seen one model at PCC.”

Senator Villar said more dairy industry players should focus on establishing a tourism farm. The concept of Farm Tourism Bill she said is to teach farmers how to earn from their small farms and to become teachers of best practices as well to other farmers.

The foresight of the proposed bill is to increase  farmers’ incomes by engaging in multiple business opportunities springing from agricultural tourism. This prospect can also direct the interest of young generations to converge in the countryside with the vibrant promise that is in farm tourism.

“I staunchly encourage farmers to become teachers of technologies and practices as well besides being productive farmers themselves. I strongly encourage you to get accredited to TESDA and you can then proceed to converting your farm into a learning farm,” she said.

Senator Villar facilitated the provision of a PhP500 million funding dedicated for TESDA agricultural training where all interested teachers of agriculture can get accreditation.

“My dream is for farmers to have a family farm school in all 1,600 towns in the Philippines so that more farmers will be taught of how to do farming using the right technologies, mechanization, and how to imbibe a business sense,” she said.

Senator Villar said small farms have the potential to prosper but because of lack of business sense, financial literacy, technology, and mechanization, progress is impeded. This is why, she said, education is the key to propel them to sustained development.

PCC is already providing such array of support, she said, encouraging small hold dairy farmers to have a “business sense” by creating viable and sustainable carabao-based enterprises in the countryside.

“You should not be ashamed that you are small. All great things start by being small,” she said,  directing her message to small hold dairy farmers.

She added, “there is a great potential in the local dairy industry and the small milk producing sector contributes much in the total milk production.”

Senator Villar said with the increasing and growing number of small hold dairy farmers contributing in the national dairy industry, the focus of the government should now be directed to improving their cause through provision of support mechanisms and facilities.

“With our concerted efforts, we will achieve our goal of a progressive local dairy industry benefitting thousands of dairy farmers in the provinces,” she said.

Agriculture secretary Proceso Alcala, through agriculture undersecretary Dennis Guerrero, agrees with Senator Villar that a progressive dairy industry is one of the keys to economic development in the countryside.

Secretary Alcala said support mechanisms for dairy farmers will be continuously strengthened to make this happen through provision of the best technologies and technical and capability enhancement assistance in the span of the value chain—from production to processing and marketing.

Efforts of the dairy industry, he said, should be focused on producing quality milk to enable the Philippines to obtain itself a significant share in the world market.

“Let us continue to exchange knowledge on dairying and meaningfully contribute in the progress of the local dairy industry,” Secretary Alcala said.

PCC acting executive director Dr. Arnel del Barrio vowed the PCC will continue to seize opportunities to realize its mandate of providing increased incomes and improved well-being for the rural farming families by leading the DA network in deliberate efforts to conserve, propagate and promote the Philippine carabao as a source of milk, meat, and draft power and hide, and serve as the lead agency for livestock biotechnology.

The 19th DairyConEx, adopting the theme “Gatas Pinoy: Paunlarin, Tangkilikin, Palaganapin!”, was attended by over 600 delegates composed of dairy farmers, cooperative members, private sector and industry entrepreneurs, and government employees in the livestock sector.

Some 50 exhibitors participated in the three-day conference to showcase their respective technologies and products.

Annually organized by the Dairy Confederation of the Philippines (DairyCon), the congress aims to encourage people to go into dairying to create wealth, livelihood and share the benefits of economic development nationwide. The ultimate goal is to create a permanent sector for dairy with globally competitive professional dairymen and farm workers.

It is co-organized by the Department of Agriculture through the National Dairy Authority (NDA) and co-sponsored by the PCC.


PCC 23rd anniversary celebration underscores F2F

The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) celebrated its 23rd founding anniversary last March 29-31 at the PCC headquarters in the Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija. This year’s theme was: “F2F: Boosting Employees’ Potential Toward Productivity”.

In a video presentation showcased during the program to give the audience an appreciation of the theme, F2F or face-to-face was derived as “a synergistic approach to outline and achieve performance targets through interfacing, collaborating or partnering between and among operating units and regional centers across the PCC network with other carabao development program partners”.

“We are beyond the age of puberty which means we are now adults. This indicates that we should strengthen more our partnerships toward fruitful outcomes,” Dr. Arnel N. Del Barrio, PCC acting executive director said.

PCC employees across the PCC network nationwide, officials from Central Luzon State University, and Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology, social entrepreneurs and interns from Gawad Kalinga (GK) Enchanted Farm, and some press people from media outfits in the province graced the occasion. 

Antonio “Tony” Meloto, founder of GK, served as the guest of honor. In an inspiring and motivational speech, he encouraged everyone in the audience to relate well with one another to boost each other’s potentials. He said if this is done collectively, it will greatly contribute to the organization’s better performance. He said GK is willing to sustain partnership with PCC in pushing forward social entrepreneurship in the countryside thru the production and marketing of carabao’s milk. Through this, the vision of living the Filipino dream in our homeland is never a remote possibility.

Minda R. Diloy, this year’s anniversary chairperson, motivated PCC employees in the same manner saying that:

“More focus should be placed on making each and everyone feel that work is more than just a job but a kind of work that has higher purpose, achieved thru sincere and meaningful face-to-face interactions such as those relationships we build with our partners,” she said.

As a result of meaningful F2F interaction, PCC’s outstanding employees who have excelled in the performance of their respective duties were recognized during the anniversary program. 

Dr. Caro B. Salces of PCC at Ubay Stock Farm was recognized as outstanding center director; Dr. Ester B. Flores, national genetic improvement program coordinator, as outstanding supervisor; Mario M. Delizo, Project Development Officer II, as outstanding development officer; Excel Rio S. Maylem, Science Research Specialist II, as outstanding researcher; and Rogel dela Cuesta, Administrative Officer V, as outstanding support staff.

Each awardee received a cash prize of Php30,000, plaque of recognition, and a study tour grant abroad related to their respective fields of discipline.

The search for laudable employees was spearheaded by Dr. Liza G. Battad, chair of the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE) committee and chief of Planning and Special Projects Division. 

Other highlights of the three-day anniversary celebration included thanksgiving mass by Rev. Fr. Tito Y. Maratas Jr. as the celebrant, PCC-PSAS lecture series and animal medical mission, seminar on “Enriching Employee Engagement toward Enhanced Productivity” discussed by Success Coach Randy Esguerra, Employees’ General Assembly, and recognition of PCC retirees.

The PCC was established on March 27, 1992 when then Pres. Corazon Aquino signed into law Republic Act 7307 or the Carabao Development Act of 1992. It became operational in 1993 when former Pres. Fidel V. Ramos launched the National Carabao Development Program.


PCC-PSAS lecture series, animal medical mission address parasite control in livestock

Animal scientists, researchers, and experts from the Philippine Carabao Center and Philippine Society of Animal Science recently convened at the PCC headquarters to proactively respond to increasing risks on parasite infestation among different livestock species. The PCC-PSAS lecture series activity was held at the PCC headquarters and animal outreach program at Brgy. Licaong, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija last March 29.

Dr. Virginia Venturina, dean of Central Luzon State University (CLSU)-College of Veterinary Science and Medicine and Dr. Elizabeth Molina, professor of College of Veterinary Science and Medicine and director for extension of the University of Southern Mindanao were tapped as resource persons.

Dr. Venturina delivered a lecture on the topic: “Sustainable Control of Gastrointestinal Worm Infection in Goats Towards Increased Productivity.” Dr. Molina, on the other hand, discussed the preventive measures and treatment on fasciolosis, which is one of the leading causes of the decreasing number of carabaos and other ruminants.

The lectures were followed by an animal medical mission at Brgy. Licaong Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. PCC veterinarians and CLSU-Veterinary Medicine students performed deworming in various ruminants such as carabaos, cows, goats and even dogs.

University of the Philippines – Los Baños Professor Emeritus Dr. Salcedo Eduardo was hailed as this year’s honoree, a recognition given by PSAS to an individual who pulled off an outstanding contribution in the field of science and technology.

Dr. Salcedo’s researches on livestock parasites, particularly on helminthology paved his way to becoming an academician in the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).

According to the evaluation of NAST, the works of Eduardo significantly contributed in the undertaking of sound control measures in the conservation, and management of livestock animals consequently ensuring public health.

PSAS President Dr. Eric Palacpac, who is also the PCC-R4D national coordinator, said Dr. Salcedo’s meritorious accomplishments make well-deserving of the honor. He also assured the participants that the PCC-PSAS lecture series will continue to be an avenue to elevate the knowledge and skills of researchers and students in the animal science discipline.

PCC researchers, center directors and staff; PSAS members and veterinary medicine students of CLSU attended the program which featured invited speakers.