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.