PCC’s NIZ Project bags PhilEASNet’s special commendation award

In recognition of Philippine Carabao Center’s (PCC) extension efforts in the National Impact Zone (NIZ) which is the province of Nueva Ecija, the NIZ Project was given a special plaque of commendation during the Philippine Extension and Advisory Services Network, Inc. (PhilEASNet) Biennial Symposium, held last October 9-10 at the Bohol Tropics Hotel in Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

“We are happy and very blessed that the NIZ project received such accolade. Beyond our work, we hope to inspire others to never give up and to pursue doing things for the greater good,” Wilma del Rosario, PCC’s NIZ coordinator said.

The PCC’s NIZ project started in 1999 as an initiative anchored towards the demonstration of the enterprise development component of the PCC’s Carabao Development Program. Back then, Nueva Ecija was chosen as the PCC’s NIZ while 13 regional impact zones were also identified.

This year’s symposium theme is “Facing the Challenges of 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) Through Extension and Advisory Services”.

Bohol Governor Arthur Yap emphasized that the proper delivery of extension work can add 32-35% increase in the production aspect of agriculture.

“The 4th industrial revolution is a fusion of technologies characterized by physical, digital and biological spheres, which can be disruptive. The challenge now is how to apply 4IR technologies to the farm sector,” he added.

The symposium aimed to (1) explain challenges and opportunities on 4IR, (2) share innovations and initiatives of good extension and advisory service practices, and (3) identify measures for capacity development and knowledge management in anticipation of the 4IR challenges and opportunities.

“As extension professionals and practitioners, we have to be prepared and equipped to help ensure that 4IR will not make the rich, richer and the poor, poorer. We need to adapt well to this reality in the name of service especially to those who have less in life,” PhilEASNet President Karen Eloisa Barroga stated on the message she wrote for the event.

A total of 45 papers were presented. The said papers delved in various subthemes such as Innovations in Knowledge Management, Novel Capacity Building Initiatives, Trailblazing Extension Interventions, Developing Sustainable Community Livelihoods, Extension and Public Service of HEI, and Extension, and Public Service of HEI.

Conversations on the 4IR applications in the fields of rice, livestock, vegetable, forestry, and land resources were also conducted with invited resource speakers.

This year’s outstanding extension practitioner is Elmer Sayre, executive director of WAND Foundation. In the extension category, “HILING program: An Extension Innovation of Agricultural Training Institute-Region IV-A” was hailed as this year’s outstanding extension project. Meanwhile, under the same category, the outstanding research paper award was won by the paper entitled “Stimulating the Entrepreneurial Prowess of Women Farmers in Macarse, Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija”.

Dr. Eric Palacpac, PhilEASNet’s vice president for Luzon and PCC’s Knowledge Management Division chief, awarded the certificates.

The keynote speakers of the symposium were Dr. Glenn Gregorio, director, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, and Dr. Aniceto Orbeta, Jr., senior research fellow, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

Also present in the event was Tagbilaran City Mayor John Gessnell Yap who expressed his support on conduct of the symposium.

More than 200 participants from select government agencies, universities, and other institutions engaged in extension work participated in the event.

32 participants complete milk handling, processing, marketing training

Thirty-two participants composed of Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) and Barangay Health Workers (BHW) from Don Carlos, with walk-in partakers from Valencia City and Malaybalay City, all in Bukidnon, successfully completed the three-day training on milk handling, processing and marketing held at the Regional Training Center, Philippine Carabao Center at Central Mindanao University (PCC@CMU), Musuan, Bukidnon last September 17-19.

The training was a collaborative effort between PCC@CMU, Abellanosa Learning Sites and Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), which aimed at capacitating the participants on the proper milk collection and handling; milk processing procedures for various milk products; and techniques on how to market the products.

According to Dr. Elena Paraguas, PCC@CMUs training specialist III, the selected participants from different municipalities were trained to prepare themselves for the upcoming school milk feeding program to ensure the quality and safety of the milk to be distributed in the area.

“This training will also serve as the venue for them [participants] to appreciate the value-adding potentials in milk products, which are excellent sources of additional income,” Dr. Paraguas added.

Julikah Jan Nortega, Processing and Marketing Outlet’s (PMO) quality assurance officer, stressed the importance of food safety and quality of milk from production to marketing during her lecture.

“The main point or importance of this lecture is for you to learn about proper food handling and food sanitation in order to ensure that food delivered to customers are safe from food borne illnesses. One way to achieve this end is to maintain the cleanliness of the area and food handler,” she emphasized.

After the series of lectures on the first day, the participants experienced the kitchen-type processing of milk on the following days.  Each group processed choco milk, white cheese and pastillas as their finished products.

Apart from processing, the participants also learned milk quality testing, maintenance of milk quality during milk handling, production, processing and marketing.

“I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to PCC@CMU and ATI for their efforts to organize this training. For me, this training is the best because it’s free and we gained new technologies to explore,” Hector Rule, one of the participants, expressed.

Dairy farmers urged to increase milk prod’n in support of National Feeding Program

“The new law institutionalizing a national feeding program for undernourished Filipino children in public schools has created a higher demand for locally produced milk, thus, providing livelihood opportunities for dairy farmers and boosting the local dairy industry.”

This was underscored by Philippine Carabao Center’s (PCC) Executive Director Dr. Arnel Del Barrio during the celebration of the 13th Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival last October 8 in General M. Natividad, Nueva Ecija, which coincided with the 100th day in service of the town’s newly elected Mayor Anita Arocena.

“There is a ready local market for milk, as there is already a budget for that. What we lack is enough supply of milk. We are seeking for your (dairy farmers) help not just to double but to triple your milk production. Help us collect, process, and feed milk to Filipino children,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act or Republic Act 11037 last June 2018 to address the problem of undernutrition among Filipino children (aged 3-12 years old) in day care centers, kindergarten, and elementary.

Under the law, the government shall provide a supplemental feeding program for day care children, which will be implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and local government units (LGUs); a school-based feeding program for public school children from kinder to Grade 6, to be implemented by the Department of Education (DepEd); and a milk feeding program, wherein fresh milk is one of the components in the fortified meals and cycle menu. This will include the provision of at least 100 ml of locally produced fresh milk to undernourished children and will be done in coordination with PCC, National Dairy Authority (NDA), and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).

Dr. Del Barrio stressed the need to scale up local milk production, as milk demand rises in line with the national feeding program. He also cited the significant roles and contributions of dairy farmers in meeting this challenge.

“According to DSWD and DepEd, we will be needing at least 600,000 liters of milk daily to support the milk feeding program for undernourished children across the country. The DepEd has Php1 billion budget for the feeding program this year. They (DSWD and DepEd) will even allocate higher budget for the said program next year. Hence, dairy farmers are urged to gear up for this challenge and opportunity,” he averred.

“Gradually, we, at PCC, NDA, and CDA, together with LGUs, will have a campaign in all municipalities to convince farmers to increase milk production and encourage more farmers to engage in dairying,” he added.

Dr. Del Barrio also mentioned about the twin goals of the Department of Agriculture: “Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita”, which is aligned with the slogan of this year’s host of Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival – General M. Natividad: “Angat Nativideño, Isulong Natin ang Tagumpay at Asensong Para sa Lahat”.

The annual Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), is one way of promoting carabao’s milk not only for its economic benefits but also for its important contributions to the health and nutrition of smallholder dairy farmers and their families as well as milk consumers in general.

It is made possible through a technical working group participated in by DTI, PCC, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), DA as well as the provincial and local government units.

The highlight of the celebration was the symbolic “tagay-pugay (toast of salutation)”, a simultaneous milk toasting and drinking featuring day care students 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.

Meanwhile, Mayor Arocena extended her gratitude to the PCC, DTI, DAR and other agencies and government units that are supporting this kind of endeavor to develop and strengthen the local dairy industry for the benefit of local dairy farmers in her town and in the whole province.

The PCC, on the other hand, was recognized by the DTI as its most outstanding partner agency for the “promotion and development of dairy cooperatives and of the whole dairy industry cluster in Nueva Ecija”.

After the program, a kick off activity of milk feeding program was conducted involving 400 elementary students at General Natividad Central School. The milk was provided by the Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperatives (NEFEDCCO).

Other activities included in the celebration were micro, small, medium enterprise (MSME) trade fair, presentation of accomplishments of Mayor Arocena’s 1st 100 days in service, raffle draw, intermission numbers performed by high school students in General Natividad and a community dance number with PCC mascots “Kalaboy” and “Kalagirl”.

The festival and the celebration of 1st 100 days in service of Mayor Arocena was attended by 800 stakeholders from the private sector, LGUs, government agencies, students, teachers, dairy farmers, and others.