‘I am very impressed by PCC’s carabao research and programs’, Indonesian director says

Very impressive!”, said Dr. Antarjo Dikin, Director of the Centre for Plant Quarantine and Biosafety, Indonesian Agricultural Quarantine Agency, Ministry of Agriculture, in response to the carabao research program of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) last August 25 during his visit at its National Headquarters in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

Dikin, head of the Indonesian delegation, joined in by officials from the Department of Agriculture, was toured by the PCC’s top officials composed of Executive Director Dr. Arnel N. Del Barrio, Knowledge Management Division Chief Dr. Eric P. Palacpac, Research for Development Division Chief Dr. Annabelle S. Sarabia, Animal Genomics and Bioinformatics head Dr. Ester S. Flores, Carabao Enterprise Development Section head Ms. Mina P. Abella and Gene Pool coordinator Dr. Cyril P. Baltazar.

They visited various laboratories such as Animal Genomics and Bioinformatics laboratory, Reproductive Biotechnology and Physiology laboratory, Biosafety laboratory; national gene pool, central milk processing plant and Milka Krem dairy outlet.

“I’ve never seen any country other than the Philippines who does very well (in carabao research and program). The idea (program) that we’ve seen here is not only good for us (Indonesian government) but good for everybody, specifically to other countries that do not have breeding program yet for their buffaloes,” Dikin said.

Dikin, along with his group, visited the PCC as part of their itinerary during their attendance to the “3rd PH- INDONESIA Joint Agriculture Working Group Meeting” last August 24-25 at the Eastwood Richmonde Hotel in Quezon City and at the PCC National Headquarters, which aimed to strengthen the alliance of the Philippine and Indonesian government in bringing agricultural development to their respective countries.

PCC Executive Director Del Barrio expressed his elation to accommodate and assist the said visitors.

“The Philippines is relatively more advanced than Indonesia in terms of implementing its livestock programs, particularly carabao program and crossbreeding program. PCC is happy to share its expertise and technologies with the Indonesian government just in case the latter would want to develop further its carabao program in the future,” Del Barrio explained.

“I am very happy that I visited the PCC and have met its top officials. I’ve gained valuable knowledge here on the how-to’s of collecting genetic resources, crossbreeding and creation of enterprises from buffalo-based industry. I really hope that our government could replicate this program in the future. Thanks to the PCC for the assistance they provided us. I just want to say that I am very impressed by the PCC’s carabao research and programs,” Dikin concluded.

Using rice straws as carabao feed, good alternative to open-field burning, PCC nutritionist stresses

The use of rice straws as fodder for feeding carabaos is a better way to dispose these rice farm by-products compared to open-field burning.

This was stressed by Dr. Daniel Aquino, animal nutrition expert and Center Director of the Philippine Carabao Center at Central Luzon State University (PCC@CLSU) in the heels of widespread farmer’s practice of disposing this waste by burning it.

The Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003) and thePhilippine Clean Air Act of 1999 prohibit open-field burning of rice straws. But a cursory look at the rice field right after the palay harvest indicate that they are largely unheeded.

“Rice straws, when they are burned, emit 0.7 to 4 kg methane per ton contributing to global warming,” Aquino explained.

Many carabao farmers in Nueva Ecija, and in many other provinces in the Philippines, have already been using rice straws as carabao feed, but for other farmers who have not tried it yet, Dr. Aquino encourages them to do the same.

He explained that rice straws are readily available everywhere in the country during rice harvest seasons, hence, it is a practical and cheap source of fodder for the carabaos.

“Although rice straws have low protein content (4-4.5 %), it can be sprayed or treated with molasses and urea to increase its nutritive value and feeding quality. The urea-treated rice straws’ protein content ranges from seven to nine percent. When fed to dairy buffaloes, the feed intake is increased by 12%, milk production is improved by 18% and it increases the farmer’s profitability by 33% ,” he explained.

Rice straw baling

Aside from being a cheap feedsource, Dr. Aquino added that rice straw baling serves as an additional source of income for the farmers.

The use of baling machine can compress the hay, rice straw, and other raked crops into tightly-packed, easily transportable in rectangular or cylindrical bales that can be sold to livestock farmers or mushroom growers.

A rice farmer from Carranglan, Nueva Ecija, Victor Pagarigan, proves the economic benefit to him of baling rice straws. He supplies PCC with baled rice straws during rice harvest seasons.

“I get rice straws in several rice farms in Bunga, Carranglan because rice straw from my own farm is not enough to supply the needs of PCC,” Pagarigan, who is also into rice farming, explained.

 Using a semi-mechanized baling machine lent to him by the PCC@CLSU, he gets the rice straws from the other farms.

“On the average, I bale 5,000 cubes of rice straws every after harvest from the nearby rice farms in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija,” Pagarigan said. “Each cube. weighing 10 to 15 kilogram, is sold at P10, or an  income of Php50, 000,” he added.


He attested that rice straw baling is a way for him to augment his income from rice farming to support his family.

PCC at MMSU holds seminar on buffalo health management for farmers, others

Eighty participants from two provinces in the north attended a seminar on Health Management and Common Diseases of Buffaloes conducted recently at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), Batac City, Ilocos Norte and organized by the Philippine Carabao Center at MMSU.

Three veterinarians from the Biosafety and Environment Section of the PCC National Headquarters and Genepool served as resource persons.

Dr. Michelle Balbin talked about the characteristics, prevention and treatment of surra, bloat and leptospirosis. Dr. Ermyn Ermitanio spoke about the concerns on mastitis and liverfluke while Dr. Lawrence P. Belontidos discussed degnala, diarrhea, and prolapse.

The participants were composed of farmers entrusted with Italian buffaloes, village-based artificial insemination technicians, bull loan program recipients, farmer livestock school (FLS) graduates, and animal caretakers of the center.

Eleven of the FLS graduates who attended the seminar earlier received 15 heads of purebred buffaloes under the Paiwi program of PCC. The animals were handed over by center director Grace Marjorie R. Recta, Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Loida Valenzuela, and Sangguniang Bayan Member and Chairman of Committee on Agriculture Hilario Lorenzo to the farmer-recipients.

Dr. Catherine P. Dabalos, center veterinarian, reminded all participants that the health, safety and welfare of the buffaloes lie in the hands of the caretakers and owners themselves.

She gave assurance and commitment on the PCC’s continuing support and appropriate services to the farmers who might need health-related assistance for their buffaloes.

Also present during the seminar was City Veterinarian Dr. Robert Pungtilan. He has been an active supporter of the programs and projects of PCC at MMSU as well as to the recipients of buffaloes given by the Department of Social Welfare and Development under its Sustainable Livelihood Program (DSWD-SLP) and the local government unit of the City of Batac.

Huge flower-shaped pastillas featured in 11th Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival

A huge flower-shaped pastillas (milk candy) made from carabao’s milk was an unprecedented dairy product featured in this year’s Gatas ng Kalabaw (Carabao’s Milk) Festival held last August 9 at a gymnasium in San Jose City. 

The flower-like pastillas, measuring four feet in height and six feet in width, with a thickness of half inch, was made by the experts of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC). It used 15 liters of carabao’s milk provided by the processing plant of PCC.

“We showcased this year a giant flower-shaped pastillas because this is one good way of promoting other dairy products from carabao’s milk. It is shaped like a flower in keeping with the city’s theme which is floral. People should also watch out for the other dairy products that we will be featuring in the coming years,” Wilma del Rosario, PCC-National Impact Zone coordinator, said. 

For the past two years, the “Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival” featured the biggest “kesong puti” which was also received well by the public. 

In partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the annual “Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival” aims to promote carabao’s milk not only for its economic benefits but also for its important contribution to the health and nutrition of smallhold dairy farmers and their families as well as milk consumers in general.

The 11th edition of “Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival” was hosted by San Jose City, which coincided with its 48th charter anniversary. The celebration was showcased anew as the province continues to prove its unofficial claim as the “Dairy Capital of the Philippines.” 

Another highlight of the celebration was the symbolic “tagay pugay (toast of salutation)”, a simultaneous milk toasting and drinking featuring schoolchildren and representatives from partner private institutions and government agencies. It accentuated the significance of multi-sectoral efforts in the increased programs of the local dairy industry in Nueva Ecija.

On the other hand, DTI Regional Director for Region 3 Judith Angeles shared the support of their agency to the development of dairy industry. She said that the DTI has awarded equipment for processing and milking as part of its Shared Service Facility project to PCC’s 13 assisted dairy cooperatives in Nueva Ecija. 

“Carabao’s milk is a value-added product because it is not only sold as a beverage but can also be modified and enhanced to have a higher value like pastillas, the one that we showcased today. We need more pastillas makers as I witnessed a while ago that there have been a lot of people especially children who love pastillas which is made from carabao’s milk,” she said.

DTI Provincial Director Brigida Pili, meanwhile, made a pronouncement about the effort of the provincial government in getting the approval of the Philippine President to declare Nueva Ecija as the Dairy Capital of the country.  

“Why are we doing this? This is not only to recognize our province as the dairy capital of the country but for the people to be also aware of the nutritional value of carabao’s milk and the livelihood opportunities it brings to the smallhold dairy farmers. Through the livelihood projects of PCC, DTI, Department of Agrarian Reform, and LGUs, the lives of many farming families in Nueva Ecija have improved,” she stressed.  

Nueva Ecija is the National Impact Zone (NIZ) under the national Carabao Development Program (CDP) where all supports for a sustainable carabao-based enterprise are being modeled.

PCC Deputy Executive Director Felomino Mamuad underscored the challenge that the dairy industry is facing with regard to the low percentage of milk production in the country. He reechoed the DA secretary’s vision for the dairy industry that from 1%, the local milk production will rise by up to 10% in the next 5 years.

He also shared the plan of importing a number of dairy buffaloes and cattle next year to meet the challenge. In return, he asked the dairy farmers to help PCC improve and scale up forage production and feed resources for buffaloes. 

The yearly Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival is made possible through a technical working group participated in by DTI, PCC, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA) as well as the provincial and local government units. It will be hosted next year by PCC.


Gov says dairy processing center to help reduce malnutrition, livelihood problems in Ilocos Sur

Reduction of malnutrition cases and opening of opportunities for income generation among farmers were seen as big benefits that will come from a newly inaugurated dairy production and processing center in a village in Santa, Ilocos Sur.

This optimistic view was emphasized by Governor Ryan Singson during the inauguration recently of the center in Barangay Cabangaran.

The processing facilities, located inside the dairy farm of the Ilocos Sur provincial government, were put up upon the initiative of Gov. Singson and provincial veterinarian and project head Dr. Joey Warren Bragado.

According to the governor, since the time he was vice mayor of Vigan City years back, he already nurtured an interest in putting up a government-led dairy project. He said then Vigan City mayor Eva Marie Medina allocated Php1 million for the carabao dairy project in the city.

He added he personally saw the success of the project in that city and how this helped the farmers a lot in providing for their daily needs.

Gov. Singson underscored that the establishment of a dairy project for the whole province was his first priority when he assumed leadership of the provincial government.

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur allocated Php14 million budget for the initial procurement of 17 crossbred heifers, three pure Bulgarian Murrah buffaloes (BMB), and two BMB bulls; construction of animal facilities and milk processing center; and development of 20-ha pasture area.

The Philippine Carabao Center at Mariano Marcos State University (PCC-MMSU), he said, assisted in sourcing out and selecting crossbred heifers (with atleast 75% Murrah bloodline) and purebred bulls to be raised in the center. It also provided seed stocks and planting materials such as forage grasses and legumes.

The dairy processing center has since served as a training venue for hand-milking and milk processing, he added.

“We want the province to have its own source of milk and we also eye the project as an answer to malnutrition cases in many municipalities. Also, this will become a source of livelihood of the farmers who will engage in dairying,” Gov. Singson said.

The governor said he envisions the province to become a model province in the implementation of a dairy project and milk supplementation program for the malnourished children.

Three of the buffaloes are currently lactating and according to Gov. Singson he intends to send to donate the first batches of milk production in the center for the evacuees in the Marawi City conflict as well as the victims of the earthquake in Leyte.

He thanked the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region I and the PCC for their support as he voiced the hope for a continuing and fruitful partnership by the provincial government of Ilocos Sur and these agencies.

PCC-MMSU center director Grace Marjorie R. Recta, in her message, said the provincial government’s dairy farm has other projects in the offing. Among these, she said, are vermi-composting, feedlot fattening, and agri-tourism.

She expressed hope that the processing center can also absorb the milk coming from the dairy farmers in other places in the province and also serve as a marketing outlet for the milk products produced by the dairy farmers’ families.

Other officials present during the inauguration were Dr. Annie Bares representing DA Regional Executive Director Edillo Narciso, the members of the provincial board, officials of the local government unit of Santa, Ilocos Sur, and heads of offices and departments at the provincial capitol.