Select Sto. Niño farmers gain knowledge, hands-on experience from FLS-DBP

“What makes the Farmer Livestock School on Dairy Buffalo Production (FLS-DBP) stand out from other trainings is that it doesn’t force participants to adopt a certain technology or way but it offers technology options that farmers can use based on their needs and situation.”

This was underscored by Dr. Eric Palacpac, chief of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) Knowledge Management Division (PCC-KMD),in his message during the graduation of 27 farmers who finished their stint as students of FLS-DBP last May 8 at the town hall of Sto. Niño in South Cotabato.

For more than 30 weeks, the farmer-graduates were equipped not only with know-hows but they also experienced application of their learnings. Some of the topics in the FLS-DBP courses focused on dairy carabao raising, feeding and health management, milk and meat processing, and waste management.

“The PCC at University of Southern Mindanao (PCC@USM) is committed to engage in different means of obtaining carabaos that can be loaned out to qualified farmers,” PCC@USM Director Benjamin John Basilio shared.

He also enthusiastically stated that the provincial government is working towards the allocation of fund for a carabao buy-back scheme in the province.

Meanwhile, Dr. Palacpac noted that the farmers will have a sure market since there is now a huge demand in milk as per RA 11307 or the “Masustansiyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act”. Under the law, milk supplementation program was included as a component of the national feeding program.

PCC@USM partnered with the LGU- Sto. Niño in the conduct of the FLS-DBP.  Also in support are the South Cotabato Provincial Agricultural Training Institute, Provincial Veterinarian Office, Region XII- Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Section and the Provincial  Department of Trade and Industry.

The FLS-DBP is part of the PCC’s Communication for Development (ComDev) Campaign in Visayas and Mindanao or “Karbawan”. It is the fourth of its kind in the campaign’s roster of interventions that aims to strengthen the Carabao Development Program (CDP) in the said islands.

Based on the results of Karbawan’s Initial Participatory Communication Appraisal and the Strategic Planning conducted by the PCC-KMD, five target sites where FLS-DBP is included as one of the interventions were identified.

As of May,  116 farmers from four target sites including Sto. Niño, South Cotabato successfully completed the learning modality.  In Don Carlos, Bukidnon, 20 farmers graduated last April 11. The PCC at Central Mindanao University partnered with LGU-Don Carlos in the conduct of the modality.

A total of 44 members of Polanco Carabao Breeders and Raisers Association finished FLS-DBP in Polanco, Zamboanga del Norte last February while 25 Ipil Carabao Farmers Association members graduated in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. The PCC at Mindanao Livestock Production Center and the LGUs of Polanco and Ipil partnered in the FLS-DBPs.

The last FLS-DBP under Karbawan will be held in Iloilo this June.

Other Karbawan interventions are radio plug and press release, school-on-the-air, testimonial videos, jingle, advocacy kit, manual on proper buffalo management of dairy buffaloes, pastillas diplomacy, comics, billboard, and engagement flip chart.

(With information from the articles of Jeson Candole and Dorie Bastatas)

PCC at USM strengthens skills of AI technicians on OP

Twelve successful participants composed of provincial artificial insemination coordinators (PAIC) who are also performing as AI technicians from Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley, North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and Maguindanao completed the Advance Training on Ovarian Palpation facilitated by the Philippine Carabao Center at University of Southern Mindanao (PCC at USM) from May 1 to 12, 2019.

Mr. Jeffrey A. Rabanal, AI and training coordinator of PCC at USM, said that the training aims at strengthening the knowledge and skills of AI technicians on ovarian palpation to discern effectively estrus period and right timing of AI services in carabaos to increase calf drop efficiency and eventually increase the carabao population.

Moreover, ovarian palpation can determine the status of ovary and differentiate the sizes of follicles and determine any presence of corpus luteum and dominant follicles, which are attributes to subject female carabaos to AI after estrus synchronization (ES).

Likewise, AI is one of the banner services of the PCC and is rendered nationwide in the villages by trained AI technicians.  It is used to produce animals with better productivity for milk and meat while also improving the draft power capability of carabaos.

The resource speakers include Dr. Peregrino Duran, National AI and Bull Loan Coordinator, PCC National Headquarters; Mr. Hernando Venturina, SSRS, PCC at CLSU; Dr. Virgilio Lopez, Farm Superintendent II and Mr. Jeffrey Rabanal, AI and Training Coordinator both from PCC at USM. They discussed topics such as Review on the Anatomy and physiology of female reproductive system; Physiology of estrus cycle in carabaos; Folliculogenesis; In-situ study of ovarian structures, In-vivo familiarization of the ovarian structures (Rectal palpation in parallel with Transrectal Ultrasonography); Selection of animals for hormonal injection; Principles of estrus synchronization and induction of ovulation in carabaos; Best practices in AI to increase efficiency rate;  Corpus luteum development and function; Hormonal interplay in relation to female reproduction; Ovum Pick-Up (OPU) technology; and Familiarization of ovarian structures thru rectal palpation.

Actual field practice on pregnancy diagnosis (PD) and AI of carabaos in various barangays in the municipalities of Matalam and Mlang, Cotabato and Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat were done, which was facilitated by AI technicians from PCC at USM.  An examination was also conducted to assess the knowledge gained by the participants after the training.

During the closing program, Dir. Benjamin John C. Basilio, center director of PCC at USM, encouraged and challenged all AI technicians to sharpen their knowledge and skills on ES and AI so that calf drop efficiency can be improved.

In response, Mr. Robert Cardinal, PAIC of Davao del Norte said that the training was so timely for them to enhance their performance of AI services in the field since every aspect of the training expectations were amply tackled in preparation for the actual application.

PCC centers gear up for new tools in recording data for buffaloes

More than 20 participants from the Philippine Carabao Center’s (PCC) regional network underwent a “Training on Integrating Digital Animal Weighing Scale and Radio Frequency Identification/Electronic Identification (RFID/EID) Readers for Buffaloes” last April 24-26, 2019 at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool.

The training aimed to enrich the knowledge of participants and provide them hands-on experience on the use of the digital animal weighing scale, RFID/EID readers, and the Management Information System for Buffalo (MISBuff) software.

“These tools don’t only lighten the burden of the tedious work of writing down the body weight and other body measurements of buffaloes but also help avoid human errors by eliminating the step of writing on paper, the body weight and measurements of individual animals,” Dr. Ester Flores, PCC’s Animal Breeding and Genomics Section head, said.

Meanwhile, according to Dr. Annabelle Sarabia, chief of PCC’s Research and Development Division, the tools will make recording standardized, precise, and accurate.

The RFID/EID readers scan for the presence of EID tags placed on individual animals that contain unique 16-digit numbers specific of each animal. The EID is enclosed in a ceramic bolus that is placed inside the rumen using a bolus applicator. An advantage of using EID is that it does not fall off and lasts for the lifetime of the animal. The problem of not being able to identify an animal due to the ear tags falling off is avoided.

There are two kinds of readers used by PCC, the RS4320 reader stick, a sturdy tool also called as “Darth Vader”, and the Datamars, both of which can transmit data in the computer or laptop through a cable.  Once an animal steps on a weighing scale and scanned using the RFID reader, the weight taken is paired with the scanned EID and stored in the memory of the digital weighing scale. This is done on all animals weighed and at the end of the session, the data on all animals weighed with their corresponding EID can be downloaded to a computer and uploaded to the MISBuff system.

Meanwhile, the MISBuff system allows real time recording of all the animal’s data per herd, which include weight, body measurement, family tree and performance traits.

“The technology and tools are here so why not make use of them?” Dr. Flores urged.

The PCC GIP is closely working with a programmer to further develop the MISBuff software. An application will be launched soon in consideration of the regions where internet signal is slow or non-existent.

Trainings on other features of the tools will be conducted in due course and will be cascaded down to the PCC-assisted farmers in the future. Meanwhile, additional digital weighing scales were expected to arrive soon.

Before the tools were released in the centers last year, the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool was already using the said tools.

Also present during the training were PCC Deputy Executive Director Dr. Caro Salces and some of the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool staff.

PCC at MMSU participates in Farmer’s Festival

The Philippine Carabao Center at Mariano Marcos State University (PCC at MMSU) participated in the week-long celebration of the 11th Farmer’s Festival at Batac City, Ilocos Norte on May 1-5, 2019.

The festival is an annual celebration of the city to give due recognition to the farmers who are constant partners in agriculture and economic development. This is also a form of thanksgiving for the bountiful blessings that the Almighty has granted to the city’s agriculture sector.

The celebration kicked off with a motorcade around the city and a Thanksgiving Mass participated in by local government officials, national government agencies, and different farmer-organizations.

This year’s theme “Rambakan ti Panagdur-as iti Biag ni Mannalon” revolves around celebrating the farmer’s progress in his life. Several competitions, such as the Search for the Best Decorated Carabao, were held. Staff from the center in the persons of Dr. Catherine P. Dabalos and Mr. William A. Gudoy served as Board of Judges for some of the competitions.

Other activities such as technology fora and field demos were also held. There was also a Fun Run and distribution of Hybrid Vegetable Seeds, water pumps, generator sets and harvesters to farmers and farmer-organizations in the city.

PCC at MMSU participated as one of the exhibitors. The center was able to showcase its technologies, as well as promote its carabao-based products for the duration of the festival. It also served as a venue for farmers’ queries related on carabao upgrading to be answered.

All staff of the center also participated in the Grand Parade featuring the Carosa Parade, Parade of Floats and the Carabao/Cattle Parade. They were joined by KalaBoy and KalaGirl, the agency’s official mascots.

A plaque of recognition was given to the center for consistently demonstrating its commitment and active participation in the activities of the City of Batac Farmers’ Festival for 11 years (2008-2019), thereby making it more colorful and successful.

A Certificate of Appreciation was also given to the center in grateful acknowledgement and recognition of its invaluable support during the 2nd Farmers Festival 2019 of Sarrat, Ilocos Norte.

Meters-long ‘Kesong Puti’ takes center stage in N.E.’s 1st Kesong Puti Festival

The ceremonial slicing of a 5.3-meter-long “kesong puti” (white cheese) was the highlight of the first ever Kesong Puti Festival held last May 9 in Talavera, Nueva Ecija (N.E), which coincided with the town’s “Farmer’s Week” celebration.

The cheese, weighing 245kg with a width of 1.11 meters and a thickness of 2.54 cm, is dubbed the biggest dairy product made by the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) so far. It used 700 liters of fresh carabao’s milk as the main ingredient, which was provided by the PCC’s processing plant and dairy farmers in Talavera.

Its dimension was relatively bigger than the kesong puti that the PCC had prepared for the annual Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival in the previous years, which usually measured 1.8m x 1.12m x 4cm (LxWxH).

After the ceremonial slicing, the kesong puti was eventually served with pandesal as breakfast fare for the participants.

The launching of the first Kesong Puti Festival was made possible through the initiative of Mayor Nerivi Martinez of the municipality of Talavera with the help of PCC. It was a prelude to setting a record in the “Guinness World Records” for the title “Biggest Kesong Puti in the Philippines”.

PCC Executive Director Dr. Arnel Del Barrio said in his message that he considered the launching and creation of biggest kesong puti as a symbol of partnership.

“For me, we all contributed, especially our dairy farmers, to the processing and creation of that white cheese. It is the biggest kesong puti not only in Talavera but also in the whole province of Nueva Ecija. And I assume, this is also the biggest we had made so far in the country,” Dr. Del Barrio said.

He encouraged everyone to help uplift the local dairy industry by nurturing and strengthening the partnership of agencies, farmers, and other dairy value chain players.

Dr. Del Barrio also cited the importance of rice-dairy integration model wherein rice farmers may integrate carabao dairying as a complementary enterprise. He said that carabao’s manure can be turned into vermicompost or organic fertilizer that can be used to enhance the fertility of the rice land.

On the other hand, he added, the rice straws after harvest can be collected and used as good carabao feedstuff.

Also part of the celebration were ecumenical service, trade fair, and cooking contest using kesong puti as the main ingredient.

Meanwhile, Shrimp Kare-Kare with Kesong Puti, Suso with blended Kesong Puti, and Fried Lumpiang Kalabasa with Kesong Puti and Mushroom Dip won first, second, and third places, respectively, in the cooking contest participated in by residents of Talavera.

Apart from Dr. Del Barrio, other guests during the event were Department of Trade and Industry Provincial Director Brigida Pili, Provincial Agriculturist Serafin Santos, DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer I Jocelyn Ramones, and N.E. Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer Dr. Evelyn Fernando.

Select staff members of PCC and DTI, LGU officials, dairy farmers, and businessmen also attended the event.

The Kesong Puti Festival was also featured live in Unang Hirit, a morning newscast by GMA Network.

Training, demo showcase select local carabao milk-based products

In celebration of the First Filipino Food month, the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) held a hands-on training on processing of carabao’s milk particularly the creation of white cheese (kesong puti) and milk candy (pastillas de leche) last April 26 at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool (NHGP) at the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

The theme of the activity is “Pagkaing Pilipino mula sa Gatas ng Kalabaw”. It was participated in by 10 farmers, processors and aspiring entrepreneurs from San Jose City, Science City of Muñoz, and Rosario, Pangasinan.

Apart from processing, the participants also learned about milk quality testing, maintenance of milk quality and the dairy supply chain, which covers production, processing, and delivery to consumer.

“It is important to know and maintain the quality of milk because if it is bad, the product also becomes bad. We have to ensure that the milk reaches the consumer in good condition,” Mina Abella, Carabao Enterprise Development Section head, underscored in her message.

She also urged the participants to expand their horizons and think of expanding their livelihood towards a progressive enterprise. And that they shouldn’t be afraid to take risks as entrepreneurs.

Two of the regulatory agencies on milk are the National Dairy Authority (NDA) and Food Safety Regulatory Agency (FSRA). The NDA regulates raw milk while the FSRA is concerned with pasteurized liquid milk products.

Meanwhile, as part of PCC’s participation in the Filipino Food month celebration, it earlier facilitated a cooking demo on the processing of “kakanin” (bibingkang gatas and espasol de leche) using carabao’s milk as an ingredient. The demo was conducted last April 12 at the PCC NHGP.

About 30 attended from the areas of the National Impact Zone, PCC at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, PCC at Cagayan State University and PCC Mariano Marcos State University. The demo was done by a member of Catalanacan Multi-Purpose Cooperative, which is one of the progressive cooperatives in Nueva Ecija.

According to Ma. Theresa Sawit, Senior Science Research Specialist, the initiative was a combined effort of PCC Operations-Carabao Based Enterprise Team, PCC National Impact Zone team and PCC Carabao Enterprise Development Section.