Milk feeding aims to boost immunity of frontliners, vulnerable sectors in Bukidnon against COVID-19

The Philippine Carabao Center at Central Mindanao University (PCC@CMU) initiated distribution of carabao’s milk to senior citizens, pregnant women, children and frontliners (PNP, BFP, DOH & other LGU officials) to boost their body immunity against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The center started distributing 200-ml sachets of pasteurized carabao’s milk to the beneficiaries last March 17 and will continue until April 12, 2020.

PCC@CMU Center Director Dr. Lowell Paraguas said helping each other overcome this pandemic with our respective means will go a long way.

Irah Jae S. Oledan, Nurse II at LGU-Maramag, said the kindness of PCC boosts their morale to continue working on the frontlines despite the risks of being exposed to the virus.

“We commend and appreciate PCC’s effort. This gesture only shows how much our efforts are valued and we feel even more inspired and fulfilled at work,” Oledan added.

Valencia City Police Executive Master Sergeant Deogracias Villarin Gulayan, who is assigned as a team leader in a checkpoint placed between the Valencia and Maramag border, expressed his words of gratitude to the PCC@CMU center director for the initiative.

“I hope that other agencies of the government will do the same because in this time of crisis, we need all the help to keep going,” PEMS Gulayan said.

Meanwhile, PCC@CMU CBED Coordinator Dr. Elena Paraguas said this activity also coincides with the agency’s celebration of its 27th anniversary.

“Instead of having a big festivity, we decided to extend our services, with social distancing measures, to the communities that we serve. We hope that by doing this, we contribute to ending this pandemic the best way we know how. In this situation, I believe that simple acts of kindness somehow strengthen each one of us,” Dr. Paraguas said.

PCC@WVSU promotes sustainable dairying in Iloilo farmers’ fair

The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) underscores the importance of farming in the community as well as the important role of women in the agricultural sector.

Officer-in-Charge of the PCC at West Visayas State University (PCC@WVSU) emphasized the undeniable contribution of women to move agriculture-based communities, such as those involved in dairying, toward achieving social and economic progress.

He said this during the celebration of the “2nd Semana Sang Mangunguma 2020”, an initiative launched by the local government unit of Calinog and the Department of Agriculture.

This was a collaborative activity of PCC@WVSU and CAF-AGRI Cooperative. It aims to promote organic farming and farmers’ organic produce with the theme “Kauswagan handumon, palibot tatapon, organiko nga panguma talupangdon, dagaya nga ani aton maanghon, seguridad sa pagkaon maagom!”.

The theme highlighted the role of organic farming in ushering progressive communities toward sustainable agriculture and food security.

The occasion coincided with the celebration of March as the National Women’s Month.

A total of 350 one-liter bottles of flavored milk were distributed to the cooperatives and farmers’ associations in attendance.

DA-PCC commemorates 27th year in new perspective

For more than two decades, the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) has been implementing the Carabao Development Program (CDP) with meaningful accomplishments, and as it commemorates its 27th year of existence, current initiatives are focused on helping achieve the DA’s twin goal “Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita”.

Consistent with the said goal, this year’s anniversary is aptly themed “Value Innovations: New Thinking in Carapreneurship”, which feeds directly to the agency’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan titled “Propelling PCC towards a Dynamic Carabao Sectoral Development”.

“As a research and development agency, we create value innovations through the development of technologies that can help progress carapreneurship in both the private and the public sectors,” said Alvin David of the PCC Planning and Information Management Division, also this year’s chairperson for the anniversary celebration.

He noted that technology outputs of PCC, in products development for example, should be able to cut production time and cost while upholding product quality. In this way, not only is the interest of carapreneurs is served but the customers’ as well.

The PCC’s strategic plan is mainly anchored on “Value-creating Innovations to Improve Productivity, Profitability, and Sustainability (VIPS) of carabao-based enterprises (CBE)”. It includes the Carabao Value Chain Improvement Services (CVIS) that usher enterprise development through improvement of organizational capability of credit conduits, province-wide CBE models, client knowledge acquisition, and capability building.

Another initiative is called “Carabao Herd Improvement Program Services” (CHIPS), which aims to support current genetic improvement program initiatives in water buffaloes by way of more efficient data gathering, analysis, and feedback system.

Likewise, modeling solutions to support productivity of PCC ‘s clients such as carapreneurs, carabao raisers, and farmers will be done through the Research for Development and Innovation System (R4DIS).

Digitization of PCC’s extension and advisory services will also be actively pursued.

The PCC was established in 1992 by virtue of Republic Act No. 7307. It is mandated “to conserve, propagate, and promote the carabao as a source of milk, meat, draft power and hide to benefit the rural farmers.”

In 1993, it started its operations through a small central office in Quezon City, as supported by a small network of regional centers. Later in 1998, its national headquarters and gene pool facilities were established in the Science City Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

Currently, the PCC has 12 regional centers across the country, which work together towards achieving its noble mission of improving the plight of its primary stakeholders, the smallholder farmers, along with providing assistance to other actors in the carabao industry value chain.

Co-op donates relief goods to indigent members, families in Bantog, Asingan

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, people come together in solidarity to help one another. For its part, the Bantog Samahang Nayon Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BSNMPC) donated relief goods to indigent co-op members and families particularly at Sitio Cabaruan in barangay Bantog, Asingan, Pangasinan.

Each pack of relief goods, consisting of 2 kilos of rice, 1/2 sugar, and 25 grams of coffee, were distributed last March 26. This act of kindness benefited more than 50 families in the said area.

Pacita Aquino, BSNMPC quality assurance officer, said the co-op also started conducting its community-based milk feeding program to benefit senior citizens and schoolchildren in hopes of boosting their immune systems.

The BSNMPC is one of the assisted dairy cooperatives of the Philippine Carabao Center at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in Rosario, La Union.

PCC distributes fresh milk to senior citizens, frontline service workers

Distribution of fresh milk (200ml each) to senior citizens and government frontline service workers (BFP, DOH, PNP) in Nueva Ecija to help boost their immune system against the global coronavirus pandemic or COVID-19.

Our hearts go out to anyone affected by the virus, especially those who are sick, to whom we extend our fervent prayers for a full recovery. We respect and admire the hardwork and commitment of selfless workers and volunteers in our communities at the frontline of this crisis. Stay safe, everyone!

Bukidnon Dairy’ eyes tourism spot along Northern Mindanao tourism highway

Soon, “Bukidnon Dairy”, a carabao-based products outlet of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at Central Mindanao University (DA-PCC@CMU), which was previously named Buffalo’s Milk Sales Outlet, will be an accredited tourism spot in Maramag, Bukidnon upon compliance to accreditation standards of the regional Department of Tourism (DOT).

This was following a “Tourism Awareness and Stakeholder’s Forum on Department of Tourism’s Proper Accreditation” at The Margarette Business Hotel, Maramag, Bukidnon last March 3.

Said forum aims to prepare the tourism and business establishments about the salient features and the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of RA 9593 or The Tourism Act of 2009 including matters pertaining to business licensing procedures.

”Bukidnon Dairy”, recognized as one of the tourist destinations in Northern Mindanao, was renamed as such and launched on September 14, 2019 during the celebration of the 5th National Carabao Conference hosted by DA-PCC@CMU and co-hosted by the Central Mindanao University.

DA-PCC@CMU Center Director Dr. Lowell Paraguas sets his hopes high that the outlet will pass accreditation standards to gain advantage on mainstreaming its products.

“Getting a DOT accreditation will further improve our products and service delivery to delight our customers coming from different places,” Dr. Paraguas said.

In the forum, it was mentioned that establishments accredited by DOT as tourism site will be prioritized on DOT training programs, issued a certification and DOT identification card for bonafide employees and included in the bi-annual publication of all accredited tourism establishments and frontliners for Region X.

The Municipality of Maramag is dubbed as the “Tourism Highway of Northern Mindanao”.

This, according to Oscar Navacilla, public information officer, benefits nearby provinces both economically and socially.

Thus, Maramag Mayor Jose Joel Doromal said potential tourism sites should get ready and upgrade their service delivery in preparation for the influx of more visitors once they get DOT accreditation.

Beverly Tagpongot, tourism operations officer II of DOT-Region X, said getting certified by the DOT means compliance to the minimum standards to operate a tourism facility.

Tagpongot shared that the DOT’s goal is to develop an environmentally and socially responsible tourism industry that delivers more widely distributed income and employment opportunities.

Meanwhile, Rico Libre, tourism operations officer II of DOT-Region X, said the Province of Bukidnon’s Tourism Program is categorized into the following types: Recreational, Cultural, Religious/Faith, Medical/Health, Adventure, and Farm.

Strong ties pave way for Dairy Box launching in Asingan, Pangasinan

The establishment and inauguration of the Dairy Box in barangay Bantog, Asingan, Pangasinan last February 28 was made possible through the concerted efforts of the government agencies, local and provincial government units, and carapreneurs.

The Dairy Box, a one-stop-shop for carabao-based products conceptualized by the Business Development and Commercialization Unit (BDCU) of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC), is an infrastructure support for smallhold dairy buffalo farmers designed to provide them opportunities such as access to the commercial market thus increasing their incomes.

DA-PCC Executive Director Dr. Del Barrio explained the rationale behind the establishment of the 1st Dairy Box in the country, which is based in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. He shared that it is a response to one of the findings of a Value Chain Analysis conducted two years ago stating that one of the reasons why carabao-related programs are not expanding is due to lack of market channels.

He also recognized the importance of convergence and clear market tie-up for an enterprise to take off.

“I would like to thank our partners who have been with us throughout this endeavor, as PCC cannot do it alone. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of each one of you,” he said.

Managed by Bantog Samahang Nayon Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BSNMPC), one of the assisted dairy cooperatives of DA-PCC at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DA-PCC@DMMMSU), the outlet in Asingan is now the 9th Dairy Box in the country and the 3rd in Luzon.

It was realized specifically through the collaborative efforts of the DA-PCC@DMMMSU, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), DA-Regional Field Office 1, local and provincial governments of Pangasinan, and farmer-members of BSNMPC.

Counterparting the edifice of this Dairy Box was the additional budget allocated by the DAR for building enhancement. The DTI, on the other hand, provided freezers/chillers and two units of soft ice cream maker, among others, through its Shared Service Facility.

The DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program, DOLE, and DA-RFO 1 also contributed additional stocks of carabaos to dairy farmers in Pangasinan for herd build-up, as more milk is needed for the processing of dairy products.

The local government unit (LGU) of Asingan donated 300 sq.m. of land where the Dairy Box is situated.

Abono Party List Deputy Speaker Cong. Conrado Estrella III, who (along with the late Senator Leticia Shahani) initially provided stocks of carabaos to farmers, bared his plans and commitment to further develop the Dairy Box in their area assuring that this will be the “best building of Dairy Box in the whole country”.

“I want this industry to flourish, thus, I really did my best to allocate Php15 million budget for the construction of a fully furnished two-story building that will complement this Dairy Box. We will put up a display center of various dairy products in it. Its interior will be instagrammable so customers will flock to it and keep coming back not only for its pleasant ambiance, but also for its delectable milk treats,” he shared.

“The ground floor of the building is a restaurant and on the second floor is a glass-walled processing area so customers can view how the products are being processed.
At the back of the Dairy Box, there will be a dormitory-type facility to accommodate tourists or guests who opt to stay overnight,” he added.

Cong. Estrella announced that the groundbreaking ceremony of the said building is slated on the third week of March.

Meanwhile, DA-PCC@DMMMSU Center Director Gloria Dela Cruz encouraged everyone present in the event to continue promoting carabao-based enterprise and patronize products made from carabao’s milk.

Some of the dairy products available in the store are purple corn ice cream, yogurt, fresh milk, chocomilk, lacto juice, polvoron, pastillas, special espasol and ube halaya. All of them, with carabao’s milk as main ingredient, carry the brand name “Creamilicious”.

Currently, the co-op tends more than 300 carabaos and harvests an average of 100 liters of milk a day.

“I would like to thank PCC and all those who have helped us in this undertaking. This enterprise has really changed our lives for the better,” BSNMPC Chairman Rolly Mateo averred.

PCC@USM celebrates women’s month, highlights inspiring stories of CADAFA’s women-members

In line with the celebration of 2020 National Women’s Month, the DA-Philippine Carabao Center at University of Southern Mindanao (DA-PCC@USM) initiated information caravan on carapreneurship as one way of celebrating women’s month together with the members of Canahay Dairy Farmers Association (CADAFA) last March 3, 2020 in Barangay Canahay, South Cotabato.

DA-PCC@USM Gender and Development Focal person Ludivina J. Estimo gave insights on the year’s theme “We make change work for women” and its objective of empowering women as active contributors to and claimholders of development.

Estimo emphasized that women are not merely staying at home doing household chores but taking steps outside of the “work-of-women norm” labeled by the society years ago.
“Women’s month is an annual activity where we showcase the efforts and works of women nowadays. We must show the significant efforts and contributions we had done for years.” Estimo added.

Among the women-members of CADAFA who shared their stories were Loyda Estañol, Gemma Bengil, Nancy Zabala, and Melgin Zenith where they said that through the help of PCC@USM, headed by Center Director Benjamin John Basilio and the LGU-Surallah through their Municipal Agriculturist Office, their work as women changed. They further stressed that dairying helps a lot in changing their role as women in their community.

Part of the program was the showcasing of dairy practices and management of CADAFA members wherein PCC@USM Community Organizer Raquel R. Bermudez voiced that CADAFA is one of the active contributors to the improved accomplishment of Carabao-based Enterprise Development (CBED) program, as stewarded by the center.

In addition, LGU-Surallah Dairy Coordinator Rosalino Ligahon said in an interview that the women-members of CADAFA play a vital role in the success of the association.

“Before, their mindset in taking care of buffaloes is that it is a task that only men can do but as time goes by their perception dramatically changed. They started simply by taking care of the dairy carabaos i.e., giving a small amount of feed, until they realize that the overflowing milk changed their way of living. Indeed, it becomes a source of their livelihood. Women now handle milking, pasteurizing milk, selling products, and making themselves involved in decision making,” Ligahon added.

The celebration of the National Women’s Month is an annual activity, which gives recognition to women’s important contributions to national development. By virtue of Proclamation No. 224 Series of 1988, the first week of March was declared as Women’s Week. On the other hand, March 8 was pronounced as Women’s Rights and International Peace Day as well as National Women’s Day according to RA 6949 Series of 1990.

SANDAFA dairy store newly launched in Surallah, South Cotabato

The Sto. Niño Dairy Farmers Association (SANDAFA) officially ventures into dairy enterprise on February 28, 2020, through an infrastructure, which is the 1st ever dairy store in Region XII to market various carabao’s milk-based products of the cooperative and other smallholder farmers in nearby areas.

SANDAFA is being assisted by the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) through its regional center headed by Dir. Benjamin John Basilio and hosted by the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) in Kabacan, North Cotabato.

The launching started off with a motorcade in Surallah and nearby towns, graced by the PCC mascots “Kalaboy” and “Kalagirl” together with the students of Sultan Kudarat Senior High School from Province of Sultan Kudarat and Suinsangaan National Highschool from Sto. Niño, South Cotabato.

The main products featured during the event were the carabao’s milk-based delicacies of “Sweet Plate” such as macaroons, butter scotch, brownies, yema cake, braso de mercedes, and choco moist, as well as ice cream and flavored lacto juice from “Niño Fresh” made by the cooperative-processors of SANDAFA.

Carabao’s milk from D&L Dairy farm like pasteurized milk and choco milk also quenched and satisfied the thirst of the guests during the opening program.

Present during the grand opening were PCC’s institutional partners represented by Flora Gabunales, Regional Director of Department of Trade and Industry XII (DTI), Dr. Flora Bigot of Provincial Veterinarian Office (PVO), Mayor Pablo Jr. Matinong of Surallah Local Government Unit (LGU), and Surallah Municipal Agriculturist Loel Nillos.

During her speech, Ms. Gabunales (DTI) inspired the dairy farmers and provided positive aspirations for the SANDAFA. She emphasized the importance of packaging and uniqueness of products as well as the impact of social media in terms of creating awareness and promotion of products.

“Social media can make or break your products,” she averred.

On the other hand, she congratulated and challenged the cooperative to sustain the quality of its products. Moreover, she expressed further support to the SANDAFA and other stakeholders by mentioning about the shared service facility of DTI, as assistance to smallholder dairy farmers.

She said that the DTI will extend more help to further add more products to be sold in the store, as processing facility and equipment will be accessible to those who are still planning to develop their carabao-based products.

Dr. Bigot (PVO), on the other hand, talked about providing “counterpart” as an essential role of key players (e.g., milk provider, processor, and seller) in the said business venture. She gave the cooperative a challenge to produce the needed volume of milk to sustain the production of milk products.

Furthermore, she focused on the passion that has to be continuously developed in the hearts of the SANDAFA members, and the need to provide their carabaos (their livelihood source) tender loving care, such as providing nutritious forage through cut-and-carry feeding, among others.

Director Basilio expressed his gratitude to industry partners for their support to provide livelihood assistance and other related programs for farmers and/or clients through strengthening the PCC’s Carabao-based Enterprise Development Program.

He encouraged the dairy buffalo farmers by saying, “Start small, but think and dream big”.

For the closing remarks, Ms. Rovelyn Jacang from the PCC national headquarters congratulated and wished everyone a productive and successful venture. She stated the significance of SANDAFA dairy store as the first ever of its kind in Region XII, which also serves as a model for other dairy outlets to emulate.