PCC conducts annual R4D in-house Review

A novel study on a gene associated in water buffaloes won this year’s “Best Paper” in the recent R4D In-house Review, June 27-28 at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool.

From seven completed researches evaluated by the board of panelists, the team of Dr. Eufrocina Atabay, Dr. Edwin Atabay, Dr. Claro Mingala, Dr. Emma Venturina, Dr. Rafael Fissore, and Roseline Tadeo who worked on the Molecular Characterization and Comparison of Phospholipase C Zeta (PLCZeta) Between Swamp type (Bubalus carabanensis) and Riverine type (Bubalus bubalis) Buffaloes garnered 91%, making it as “Best Paper”. Tadeo, science research assistant at the Reproduction and Physiology Unit, who served as the presenter, won as the “Best Presenter”.

The evaluators recognized the potential contribution of the study where Phospholipase C Zeta, a novel sperm-specific protein which is widely known to induce oocyte activation following fertilization, was finally characterized this time in water buffaloes.

“The study is a pioneering work and will give new molecular information on water buffalo (swamp and riverine type) of gene associated to fertility identified as PLCZeta, which was previously characterized in various mammalian species but never in water buffaloes. Our study will serve as baseline for a potential molecular genetic marker of bull fertility,” Tadeo said.

This was one of the studies presented in various disciplines in livestock industry research such as biosafety, product development and management, animal genomics, cryopreservation and techniques, socio-economic dimensions of the Carabao Development Program implementation, and five other commissioned researches.

Twenty other research papers in the undergraduate thesis category and commissioned researches were also presented.

The study on “Molecular detection of tetracycline-resistance genes in respiratory bacterial isolates of small and large ruminants” by Allan Jeffrey Francia, Gemerlyn Garcia, Dr. Michelle Balbin, and Dr. Mingala won the “Best Paper” in this category.

Dr. Florencia Charito Sebastian, University of the Philippines-Diliman Extension Program (UPDEPP) in Pampanga director; Prof. Ianne Calica, also from UPDEPP; and Anna Reylene Montes, PCC at UPLB science research specialist moderated the discussions on PCC commissioned researches.

Resource panelists tapped for the two-day in-house review were experienced veterinarian Dr. Jose Arceo Bautista of the Dairy Training Research Institute at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños, College of Veterinary Science and Medicine dean at the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) Dr. Virginia Venturina, and College of Agriculture at CLSU faculty Prof. Zosimo Battad II.

R4D national coordinator Dr. Eric Palacpac said the review has an impact on producing compelling researches for the advancement of the PCC’s mandate and the continuous development of the livestock sector.

Dr. Palacpac also encouraged scientists, researchers from PCC network, as well as student-participants to strive harder to create meaningful and relevant researches. He also enjoined all participants to expand their learning by joining the annual Philippine Society of Animal Science Scientific Seminar and Annual Convention in Manila in July.


PCC at CLSU researchers up proposal writing skills

PCC researchers at PCC at Central Luzon State University (CLSU) recently honed their skills on effective proposal writing during a Training Workshop on R&D Formulation and Proposal Writing at the said PCC station. 

PCC at CLSU Center director Dr. Daniel Aquino said the workshop is meant to challenge researchers to write compelling research proposals for funding. 

“Our emphasis now is on writing and conducting researches that are more beneficial to farmers,” Dr. Aquino said.

The four-day workshop, which started last June 21, tapped resource speakers from the Research, Extension, and Training (RET) Office of CLSU, which included vice president for RET Dr. Fe Porciuncula, vice president for Business Affairs Dr. Edgar Orden, and research office director Dr. Maria Excelsis Orden.

PCC research for development national coordinator Dr. Eric Palacpac said the training aimed to inspire PCC at CLSU staff to work hard and yet enjoy doing researches.

“Let’s put enthusiasm in the way we perform our technical capabilities such as in writing research proposals to meet our R4D agenda. Inspiration can be translated to meaningful researches,” Dr. Palacpac said.

During the writeshop, participants reviewed, critiqued and rewrote the proposals based on the pointers that they learned from the series of discussion.

Potential research papers in the area of forage and pasture, carabao-based enterprise, and product development were identified after the lectures and draft proposals were evaluated on the final day. The workshop’s outputs are expected to be finalized and submitted to the national R4D coordinator office for screening.

PCC, GK partner to build Filipino dreams in the dairyard project

The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) and the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm (GKEF), a private organization located at Barangay Encanto, Angat, Bulacan, recently agreed to enter into a public-private partnership in building Filipino dreams through the “Dairyard” project.

The Dairyard is envisioned to enrich and empower every stakeholder and consumer in the dairy industry including farmers on the aspects of livelihood, health, and wellness.

The PCC-GKEF joint project aims to form model throughout the country, bringing together strategic partners, who have the resources and capability to produce high-value carabao’s milk-based dairy products. Through this public-private undertaking, a huge network of like-minded and like-hearted collaborators of GK all over the Philippines can be created to provide a wide array of support mechanisms to empower and increase the income of Filipinos in the countryside.

The Dairyard, eliciting a new social enterprise in GKEF, was conceptualized by Marie Cavosora, chief enabling officer and founder of the Dairyard, along with her team composed of Atty. Alexander L. Lacson and Atty. Patricia Ann T. Progalidad.

Cavosora presented the collaborative project during the 1st National Carabao Conference (NCC) held at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool in Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija last December 3-4.

PCC Acting Executive Director Dr. Arnel N. Del Barrio said that the agency is working closely with the GKEF to pen a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the two parties to officially launch the Dairyard project.

“The PCC’s part in the project is the provision of 10 dairy buffaloes to GKEF as its starting herd. We will also provide technical assistance to the recipient of buffaloes by training them on buffalo production and management,” Del Barrio said. He added that PCC will continue to assist the recipients in the duration of the project or until such time that success in dairy farming is evident.

Del Barrio said that since the project of the GKEF is a public-private type of partnership, the GKEF will also help the PCC in terms of looking for new markets of milk produced and capability building of the PCC-assisted farmers in Bulacan.

Del Barrio further explained that since GKEF will only provide one hectare of land as forage area for the 10 carabaos that will be awarded to them, collaboration with the PCC-assisted farmers in Bulacan who already have buffaloes and allocation of land are the first steps that should be taken to attain its mission of building the Filipino dream through the establishment of Dairyard models all over the Philippines.

“The project of GKEF on Dairyard advocates raising of carabaos for milk and supports social entrepreneurship in the country. The intention is to provide Filipino’s with livelihood opportunities on dairy farming,” Del Barrio added.

Meanwhile, according to Cavosora, the farmers of GKEF community in Bulacan will be the pilot recipients or beneficiaries of the project.

Cavosora said the project ultimately aims to address poverty in the Philippines. “Beyond addressing the poverty of the pocket, the project also wants to address the poverty of the mind and the spirit of every Filipinos. The Dairyard was built to make every Filipino’s dream come true through dairy farming,” Cavosora happily said.

She added that since the Dairyard is a social enterprise, it seeks to create social impact in the following manner: restoring the dignity of the poor, inspiring excellence, and leading by example.

“This would all result in igniting and sustaining the Filipino’s mindset to dream for a better future and a better living,” she said.

“A specific manifestation of this project would be the production of gourmet keso, a high-end kind of cheese, which we produced and processed in the GKEF. Through the project, we’ll be processing high-end dairy products that are worth selling with competitive prices not only in the local market, but, in the global market as well,” Cavosora added.

Incoming DA secretary vows to make milk feeding in public schools a national program

Incoming Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” F. Piñol has vowed to intensify the DA’s support to the milk feeding program by making it a national program. Such plan aims to address the problem of dairy farmers in marketing and distribution of milk and at the same time help alleviate malnutrition among school children.

After he was named by presumptive President Rody Duterte, Sec. Piñol embarked into “Biyaheng Bukid” (countryside tour) to feel the heat of the situation of the agriculture sector in the most impoverished areas around the country.

As part of his “Biyaheng Bukid”, Sec. Piñol recently visited PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool along with the other DA attached agencies in the Science City of Muñoz last June 10 to see for himself the outcomes and the relevant issues about their respective programs.

The agriculture secretary was toured by PCC top personnel at the Milka Krem where carabao’s milk products such as mozzarella, bocconcini, kesong puti, pastillas, yoghurt, fresh milk and different flavoured milk drinks were served. Thereafter, he was ushered to the national gene pool to visit the purebred buffaloes and later toured the Livestock Innovations and Biotechnology Center wherein he was briefed about the PCC program in a video presentation featuring success stories of farmers.

Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative chairman Melchor Correa, who served as the representative of the buffalo dairying community, shared his testimony on how the PCC’s program helped them improve their daily living.

“In dairying, climate change is never a problem. We can still harvest milk from our buffaloes whether it is raining or shining. In fact, I am earning more than Php2,000 a day from the milk sales. I won’t need to look for another source of income since I am netting more than enough. Also, I am now hiring workers so that I could also be of help to others especially to those farmers like me,” he said in Filipino.

“I can say that carabao raising is indeed a successful venture and I think PCC has done its job well in implementing the program and we are the fruits of its success. We are the face of triumph of PCC in its pursuit of helping improve the lives of smallhold farming families,” he declared.

In behalf of the dairy farmers, Correa also took the opportunity to ask for help from the government in their problem with the supply and demand of milk. “We hope the secretary can help us address this problem through institutionalization of the milk feeding program,” he said.

In response to Correa’s entreaties, Secretary Piñol said:

“Even before you have mentioned that problem, we already have a crafted program. The concept is from milk collection you will deliver it at the pasteurizing area and then we will have a milk feeding program in public schools from grades 1-4. We will support that program and it will be a national program. That is what we would like to happen and our target are those children in places or areas with high rates of malnutrition”.

According to him the program would be multipurpose. It will serve as a business for the dairy farmers, job for the farmworkers, and a channel to address malnutrition among children.

“We will coordinate our efforts with the National Dairy Authority and Department of Education to identify schools or barangays that have high rates of malnutrition and we’ll focus our program there. If the carabao program could be replicated in other province successfully, then we will support it all the way,” he said.

He also bared one of their incoming programs and aspirations together with the incoming President Duterte, which includes provision of identification card to farmers so that their names will be included in the database and be able to avail pension fund and life insurance.

Before the end of his statement, he expressed his appreciation towards the positive impact of PCC’s programs on the lives of dairy farmers.

“Thank you for bringing me here. After listening to your stories, my impression about PCC has changed for good. I will surely come back. Your program is acceptable, just make sure to improve carabaos not only for milk but for draft purposes as well,” he said.

PCC, DTI continue to fortify ties for dairy development thru SSF project

For more than a decade now, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) have been strong partners in fulfilling one goal and that is to contribute to the continuing progress of the dairy industry in the country.

The DTI was recognized as PCC’s secondary stakeholder partner-champion in March 2015 for its valuable and staunch support to the Dairy Development Program in the countryside since 2001.

It provided incessant technical support in the areas of product development, entrepreneurship capacitation and market-matching services for the 50 assisted dairy cooperatives of PCC, initiated the institutionalization and annual celebration of “Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival”, and allocated fund of Php3.5 million in 2014 for the purchase of milk collection and processing equipment and more storage facilities thru the Shared Service Facility (SSF) project, which resulted in the increased quality of milk production and income of rural dairy farmers in Nueva Ecija. The “Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival” is an important activity that showcases carabao’s milk as an instrument to improve the nutrition and source of income of rural farming families.

The PCC-DTI partnership is also gained in the relentless pursuit for Nueva Ecija to be recognized and declared as the “Dairy Capital of the Philippines”.

“We have been pro-actively supporting the development of the dairy industry for the benefit of smallhold dairy farmers and farming communities as a whole for quite some time and we will continue to do so through our SSF project. We are glad to be one of the partners of PCC in this endeavor,”Engr. Eladio N. Duran, chief of the Small-Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Division of DTI, stated.

SSF project

SSF, considered the DTI’s flagship program for small business development, seeks to provide micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with machinery, equipment, tools, systems, skills and knowledge that can be shared and implemented economy-wide with non-government organizations, people’s organizations, cooperatives, industry/trade/business associations, local government units (LGUs), state universities/colleges technical vocational schools and other similar government and training institutions.

The ultimate goal of SSF, which started in 2013, is to promote the growth of innovative and globally competitive MSMEs by addressing the gaps and bottlenecks in the value chain of priority industry clusters. This is done through the provision of processing equipment for the common use of the MSMEs within those clusters all over the country.

According to the Small Enterprises Research and Development Foundation, the DTI’s Regional Operations and Development Group (RODG), under the SSF project, can provide the processing equipment through its private sector partners or cooperators which, in turn, house these equipment and machinery in sustainable facilities.

The DTI’s partners in implementing SSF, aside from the private sector, are the Department of Science and Technology, the LGUs, and the academe.

Partner-champion in dairy industry

Currently, the DTI has awarded equipment as part of its SSF project to PCC’s 13 assisted dairy cooperatives in Nueva Ecija to include the following: Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperatives (NEFEDCCO), Bagong Pag-asa sa Bagong Talavera Cooperative (BPBTC), Dimasalang Sur Credit Cooperative (DSCC), San Vicente Dairy Producers Cooperative (SVDPC), Casile Dairy Producers Cooperative (CDPC), Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative (EPMPC), Pulong Buli Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PBPMPC), Ayos Lomboy Producers Cooperative (ALPC), Simula ng Panibagong Bukas Cooperative (SiPBuPCo), Kabulihan Farmers Producers Cooperative (KFPC), Kalipunang Pangkaunlaran ng Agrikultura sa Gen. Natividad (KaPaGeNa), Nag-iisang Masikap Multi-Purpose Cooperative (NMMPC), and Buklod Producers Cooperative (BPC).

Maria Odessa R. Manzano, senior trade and industry development specialist under the DTI-Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) support services, specifically cited the kind of equipment that each cooperative received. The NEFEDCCO received two units of freezer, EPMPC received two upright chillers and two vacuum sealers worth Php135,000 while all other cooperatives received two double-bucket type milking machines (electrical and gas engine-driven) and two units of milk bucket made of stainless steel with 40-L capacity.

Manzano also said that DTI is set to award processing equipment to Catalanacan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CAMPC) and two double-bucket type milking machines to Bagong Pag-asa ng Magsasaka Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BPMMPC).

The dairy cooperatives that were awarded with the equipment expressed their deep appreciation to DTI and PCC.

“The equipment awarded to our cooperative especially the upright chiller is a big help in the handling and storage of our milk produce. We also see it as an advantage that the chiller is transparent, so that our customers can immediately see the available milk products on display,” Melchor Correa, chairman of EPMPC said.

“For my carabao to be accustomed to the milking machine, I just expose it to the sound of the milking machine while I am doing manual milking. After a week, my carabao got used to the sound and the machine became efficient for me to use,” Arnold Cunanan, member of Simula ng Panibagong Bukas MPC, said.

On the other hand, DTI, according to Engineer Duran, sought technical expertise from PCC in terms of maintenance of the milking machines and other equipment. However, the beneficiaries were also trained to troubleshoot a broken milking machine. The training, which was held last May 26 at the national headquarters of PCC, involved lectures and actual demonstration.

“Using a machine in milking is undoubtedly faster than manual milking. It also saves time, which makes the delivery of harvested milk to the collection center faster, minimizing the chances of spoilage,” Engr. Duran explained.

According to him, as of December 2015, a total of 13 SSF projects in the dairy industry amounting to Php2,924,217 were established in Nueva Ecija.