PCC conducts training on milk quality assurance for dairy farmers

The PCC National Impact Zone (NIZ) conducted a refresher course on milk handling and quality control  titled, “Milk Quality and Safety Assurance from Farm to Milk Processing Plant” last October 18 at the PCC headquarters in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

Said training was funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD)  – under the project 4 component of the PCAARRD-funded program “Enhancing Milk Production of Water Buffaloes through S&T Interventions”.

Participating in the course were 15 dairy farmers. The dairy farmer-participants are those who own five or more head of dairy carabaos and  producing at least 10 liters of milk per day.

The course was conducted because of the low milk quality and lack of skilled quality control personnel in the village-based milk collection centers (VBMCC) established by PCC. According to the organizers, the course was prepared as an additional assistance to the dairy cooperatives to help them maintain the quality of their milk produce during processing.

Lectures and hands-on exercises were the modalities of learning used in the training.

Mina Abella, the project leader of this component, discussed how to maintain milk quality along the supply chain. On the other hand, Frederick Bacani, PCC project staff, explained the milk quality evaluation and standards including milk sampling, milk quality test, preparation of 60% Ethyl Alcohol and table of specific gravity of milk.

The second part of the course was a hands-on training on milk evaluation led by Daisy Flores, PCC project staff. The participants were asked to perform sampling and platform tests including measurement of temperature, organoleptic, Alcohol Precipitation Test (APT), Clot on Boiling Test (COB), lactometer test, acidity test, and titratable acidity (using pH meter). The participants were also given workshop on proper milk recording such as entering milk test results on a logbook

“We are very thankful to PCC for coming up with this kind of program for dairy farmers. This will really help us produce good quality milk for the benefit of our business and the consumers,” Emily Velasco, one of the participants of the course, said in Filipino.


Dairy farmers undergo training on homegrown forage production

Thirty dairy farmers gained additional knowledge on the backyard production of forages to support the nutritional requirement of their buffaloes thru a two-day farmers’ training on “Science-Based Production of Grasses and Legumes for Sustainable (year-round) Supply of Fodder” last October 10-11 at the PCC national headquarters, Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija.

Said training is in line with the project 1 component of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) titled, “Development of Feeding Protocols and Practices to Support the Nutritional Requirements of Dairy Buffaloes”.

The project, which was funded by PCAARRD and implemented by PCC, aimed to address the issue on feed scarcity by providing assistance in the form of technical and practical trainings to dairy buffalo farmers in order to help them plan out and implement a sustainable homegrown grasses and legumes plantation.

“Forage supply for feeding buffaloes is one of the major problems that affect the success of the dairy farmers especially their income,” Dr. Daniel Aquino, project leader and center director of PCC at CLSU, said.

“Majority of farmers at the national impact zone practice different feeding systems depending on the number of their buffaloes. Whereas, those who have more than five dairy buffaloes are becoming aware of the importance of good nutrition, thus, they adopt forage production by establishing a forage garden using improved grasses.” Dr. Aquino added.

According to him, with the introduction of Super Napier varieties Molato and Mombasa including some improved legume species, the dairy farmers are now encouraged to establish a forage garden in their respective areas.

PCC acting executive director Dr. Arnel Del Barrio, on the other hand, shared the efforts and interventions of PCC in addressing the problem of dairy farmers in marketing and distribution of milk. He said marketing also plays a vital role in persuading farmers to practice proper feeding management.

“The key to health improvement among dairy buffaloes is in the hands of caretakers like you,” Dr. Del Barrio told the dairy farmers.

“With good feeding, management, and breeding, you are sure to boost your animals’ milk production. You just focus on the production and we, at PCC, are doing interventions such as the institutionalization of milk feeding program and establishment of products’ outlets. When you have a ready market, you will definitely find feed resources for your buffaloes to maintain their good body condition and milk yield,” he emphasized.

He added that in 2017 PCC will take on a new role to monitor the feeding systems of dairy farmers. Key personnel of PCC dedicated for this purpose, he said, will conduct an actual visit to the farms of dairy farmers and provide suggestions to improve their feeding systems.

“We are targeting 50 farmers to be visited next year to help them with their animal nutrition problem. It will be consultative. We will approach you to hear your concerns then we will agree on solutions,” he said.

The training involved farmers from the different cities and municipalities in Nueva Ecija. The selection of the participants was based on their current number of animals, interest and commitment to participate, readiness to utilize available resources including their forage area for the implementation of the project and promptness to gather record and share relevant data that will be generated from the project.

The two-day training comprised of lectures, workshop on calculation of annual forage requirement and area to be established, and actual demonstration on land preparation and the proper way of planting grasses and legumes.

After the training, the participants were also given planting materials to start establishing their forage areas. The volume of planting materials provided to them was based on the area required to support the year-round forage requirement of the number of animals they raise or maintain.

The second batch of the two-day farmers’ training involving another 30 farmers is set to be conducted in November.


PCC-CBED conducts training on milk soap making for dairy farmer-entrepreneurs in Luzon

Dairy buffalo farmers in Luzon can now expand their dairy enterprise by entering a new venture in soap making. This was made possible through a PCC-Carabao-Based Enterprise Development (CBED) sponsored  “Training on Soap Making” last September 30 at the PCC national headquarters, Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija.

Said training aimed to enhance the knowledge and skills of dairy farmers in the new business venture which is soap making.

Carlo Tienzo, CBED support staff and one of the lead organizers of the training, said farmer-entrepreneurs should learn how to expand their product line by exploring other value-adding technologies such as the production of milk soap.

“It is actually market-wise because milk soap is already found to be highly saleable as more consumers prefer to buy environment-friendly and natural products. This venture is also sure to give them additional source of income aside from the daily cash that they earn from the sales of raw milk and other milk products,” he said.

Couple Michael “Tj” and Nerlita Gonzales of Baliuag, Bulacan, owners and producers of Kala Milk soap, were tapped as resource persons for the training.

Mrs. Gonzales shared the appropriate formulation for each bar of soap and the ingredients to make one. She demonstrated a stepwise process in soap making from weighing the ingredients to pouring the mixture into molding tools, curing, cutting, and finally, packaging.

The participants also went through practical and hands-on exercises to experience the process in actual. Aside from the practicum, they were also taught on how to examine the finished products for quality, calculate simple cost and returns, and prepare simple re-entry plan. The re-entry plan served as basis for the provision of a starter kit, which included some of the important ingredients in soap making.

“We’ve been into the soap making business for six years and I can say that it is truly a viable milk-based enterprise as long as you are persistent and consistent.  Our secret is the appropriate formulation of ingredients. You should start formulating your own now so that you will have something to give as presents for the coming holiday season. If your friends will like it, that’s an  opportunity for you to consider selling,” Nerlita said.

Mr. Gonzales, on the other hand, said their business is also fostering an advocacy that aims to support the education of dairy farmers’ children in Baliuag, Bulacan. For every sale of Kala Milk Soap, a portion goes to the educational fund.

“Kala Milk Soap is the first-ever bath soap made from carabao’s milk and with the best ingredients. It does not contain harsh chemicals and toxic ingredients, making it safe for the environment. Our family also sources the main ingredient from local farmers,” Mr. Gonzales said.

Scientific studies have already proven that milk contains proteins which help soften and moisturize the skin. It also has lactic acid, which contributes to maintaining the skin’s natural fairness. Milk is also rich in vitamins A, D, and E which further nourishes the skin. In addition, it has a whitening effect which is brought about by the way it regulates the production of melanin (a natural substance in the skin that causes the skin to darken).

Meanwhile, Cynthia Correa of Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija, expressed her thoughts about the significance of the training to their cooperative.

“The training is important for us to maximize the use of our raw milk. Aside from the processed food products from carabao’s milk, we can now also use our milk for soap products. It will also be an additional source of income for the farmers and their wives. We will definitely try this venture and as a matter of fact, after this training, we are going to buy the needed ingredients and equipment for soap making,” Correa said in Filipino.

Two batches of the one-day training are set to be conducted for dairy farmer-entrepreneurs in Visayas and Mindanao in October.