ALAB Karbawan disperses dairy animals in Ilocandia

The DA-PCC recently awarded 10 of dairy buffaloes and one breeding bull to farmers cooperative Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives (NSCC) in Caoayan, Ilocos Sur last June 25.Said activity is a component of the Carabao-based Business Improvement Network project called “Accelerating Livelihood and Assets Buildup” or ALAB Karbawan. Thisprovincewide development project is sponsored by the Office of Senator Cynthia Villar, which aims to support carabao value chain stakeholders particularly carabao farmers.

The animal entrustment followed after the blessing of the newly-constructed animal housing facility that can accommodate at least 40 animals. The construction of the Php2 million worth facility, which is the co-op’s counterpart for the project, was made possible through the leadership of its Chief Executive Officer Dr. Divina C. Quemi.The NSCC is one of the successful cooperatives in Ilocos Sur operating various enterprises related to agriculture, hotels, and restaurants. It also offers various programs and services on agro-enterprise and marketing, training, tourism, and financial and social aspects.

Aside from NSCC, the Northern Ilocos Sur Agricultural Cooperative (NISAC) in barangay Baclig, Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, which received 16 female dairy buffaloes in November last year, is also a conduit cooperative under the ALAB Karbawan project.

DA-PCC launches community gulayan project

As an initiative under the DA-PCC’s Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra sa COVID-19 (DA-ALPAS COVID-19) program or popularly known as “Plant, Plant, Plant”, it has launched today its community gulayan project at the national headquarters, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

DA-PCC Executive Director Dr. Arnel Del Barrio said the community gulayan project aims to ensure food production and supply especially in this time of global health emergency. He also added this project will serve as a model farm specially for visiting clients of the DA-PCC.

Said activity included planting of seedlings (chili, eggplant, bitter gourd, papaya, and tomatoes) and seeds (lady’s fingers or “okra”). Employees of PCC participated in the planting activity.

The planting materials were donated by Grandeur Gaspar of Eastwest Seed Company and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI).

DA-PCC conducts milk feeding in Sto. Domingo, NE

The DA-PCC continues its advocacy in alleviating malnutrition as it conducted a Community Milk Feeding Program in Barangay Concepcion, Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija today.

About 300 children received 200ml sachet of toned carabao’s milk and milky bun.

The activity was also meant to reciprocate the generosity of corn farmers in Barangay Concepcion who have been willingly offering corn stover, a by-product of their harvest, to DA-PCC as a feedstuff for buffaloes.

Present during the event were DA-PCC Deputy Executive Director Dr. Caro Salces, Brgy. Captain Feliciano Garcia, and other PCC employees and barangay officials.

Carangcarang dairy farm receives three dairy buffaloes

The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at Central Mindanao University (DA-PCC@CMU) awarded Rendon Carangcarang additional three heads of pregnant dairy buffaloes under a paiwi program last May 28 at the Municipal Hall of Don Carlos, Bukidnon.

Rendon is one of the active members of Muleta Side Buffalo Association (MUSBUDA) of San Francisco, Don Carlos, Bukidnon since 2017.

According to Dr. Elena Paraguas, carabao-based enterprise development coordinator, PCC already entrusted Rendon three heads of buffaloes last January 9, 2019, as a start for him to venture in this industry. Hence, a total of 7 heads buffaloes are presently in his farm.

Dr. Paraguas mentioned also in her opening message during the awarding that this entrustment was a part of the preparation for the milk feeding program, which created a higher demand for locally produced milk.

Rendon shared his optimism that buffalo dairying is one of the solutions to poverty alleviation and found out that this is an essential venture to have an additional income.

“I am thankful for the unending assistance and support from PCC. I also appreciate the fact that through PCC, I have found a sustainable source of income,” Rendon happily shared.

Currently, Rendon already earned Php20,000-Php30,000 a month from the sales of 450 liters of milk. This has enabled him to finance the educational needs of his children, pay all of his debts to the nearby stores, and provide and satisfy their daily needs.

“Repeatedly, we, at LGU will campaign in the community to persuade farmers to increase milk production and encourage more farmers to engage in dairying,” said Engr. Merlyn Los Banos, municipal agriculturist of Don Carlos.

Los Banos conveyed how the dairy farmers can meaningfully contribute to address the problem in malnutrition and the unavailability of supply of the locally produced milk in their municipality.

Carlo Magno Abellanosa, chairman of MUSBUDA said in an interview that carabao raising is indeed a beneficial venture and PCC`s program helped him and his co-farmers improve their living.

“The association was fortunate enough due to the continuous support from PCC, which contributes significantly towards successful ventures in dairying. Likewise, their programs, have contributed to the health and nutrition of small-hold dairy farmers and their families as well as milk consumers as a whole,” Abellanosa shared.

DA-PCC at CMU initiates COVID-19 aid to dairy farmers in Bukidnon

To guarantee the consistent support offered by the agency to the dairy farmers in the province amidst community quarantine, the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at Central Mindanao University (DA-PCC@CMU) commenced projects in line with the DA’s “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra COVID-19” program at the Municipal Hall, Don Carlos, Bukidnon last May 29.

The DA`s ALPAS COVID-19 goal is to ensure a food-secure Philippines in time of the health emergency crisis.

Under the ALPAS COVID-19 program, the DA-PCC implements the four projects, which include the Unlad Lahi Project (ULaP); Creating Opportunities Through Value Innovations and Development (COVID) Project; Gatas, Isda, Gulay, at Karne (GIGK) project; and Cara-Aralan project to enhance food productivity, food supply availability, food accessibility and food price stability of the country.

“The agency`s programs are ideal and applicable to our dairy farmers to recover from the devastating impact caused by this pandemic. We are helping the farmers to be more productive and progressive through these initiatives. Also, PCC is always there if they need our assistance or help concerning about dairying,” DA-PCC@CMU center director Dr. Lowell Paraguas said.

Dr. Paraguas also shared the significance of the KADIWA ni Ani at Kita Buffalo Milk on Wheels or Kadiwa BMW mobile store, which serves as one of the marketing strategies to market the dairy products produced by the assisted farmers.

The ULaP project aims to increase milk and meat production, which can create opportunities in creating jobs for the farmers and in providing livelihood.

Under ULaP, the center awarded three dairy buffaloes and two draft animals, and provided animal biologics and feeds for lactating animals, molasses and milk cans to recipient farmers of Muleta Side Dairy Buffalo Association (MUSBUDA), Dologon-Kisanday Dairy Buffalo Association (DOKIBUDA) and Don Carlos Dairy Buffalo Association (DCDBA).

The GIGK project promotes the integration of urban agriculture or mixed farming system in the villages to enhance food and feed production, and availability and sustainability of supply.

In support of the GIGK project, the center provided animal manure to the nearby barangays in support of the organic vegetable garden of the community. Likewise, the center provided farm machinery to cultivate the soil in the supported sites.

Under the COVID project, the applicable technologies and value innovations will be utilized to improve productivity, availability, accessibility, and sustainability of food, which also aims for the creation of livelihood opportunities through value innovations.

In this project, the center temporarily subsidized the purchase of milk from the farmers affected by the global pandemic. The purchased buffaloes’ milk was processed into pasteurized milk and distributed to the adopted community, health workers and other selected beneficiaries.

For the Cara-Aralan project, the center utilized the radio program time slot in the DXMU 88.9 FM titled “The PCC Hours” for sustaining access to information, education, and communication of farmers and carabao industry stakeholders about the current carabao development program initiatives of the agency.

“Despite this pandemic, the center is beyond willing to provide our extension services to our dairy farmers. We motivate them to never surrender, as the support of PCC will consistently be visible,” Dr. Elena Paraguas, carabao-based enterprise development coordinator said.

Efraim Alayon, a member of Don Carlos Dairy Buffalo Association (DCDBA) expressed his gratitude to PCC for its never ending support to dairy farmers in their municipality.

TANIM members get hands-on training on UMTRS making

As part of the DA-PCC’s Gatas, Isda, Gulay, at Karne (GIGK) project, members of the Tayabo Agro-Entrepreneur Natures Innovators Movement (TANIM) attend a hands-on training on Urea-Molasses Treated Rice Straw (UMTRS), silage making, and Urea-Molasses Mineral Block (UMMB). These are only some of DA-PCC’s technologies on improving the nutrition of carabaos.

An onsite lecture-demonstration was facilitated by the DA-PCC Production Systems and Nutrition Section team headed by Mary Rose Uy. It was conducted yesterday in Brgy. Tayabo, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.

Last May, the DA-PCC entrusted 10 carabaos for fattening to TANIM under the GIGK project. Aligned with the DA’s ALPAS Kontra sa COVID initiative, the GIGK project is geared toward the enhancement of food and feed production as well as availability and sustainability of supply.

SMC collaborates with DA-PCC to support dairy farmers

Dairy farmers struggling to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 crisis due to lack of market channels need not worry anymore as the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) extends support by purchasing Php500,000 worth of carabao’s milk products from farmers’ cooperatives.

A survey conducted by the research team of DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) showed that dairy farmers encountered major setbacks in terms of limited access to markets following the two-month quarantine period, which resulted in almost 50% reduction of dairy farmers’ income vis-a-vis their earnings prior to the pandemic.

Upon learning about the dairy farmers’ plight on excess milk, the SMC committed to buy from dairy farmers’ cooperatives directly hit by this health crisis.

“By buying their excess milk, we are hoping to help not only our farmers stay in business but also get these produce to food banks and communities, addressing the growing food insecurity facing the poorest families,” SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said in a press statement last May 30.

The SMC coordinated with DA-PCC in Nueva Ecija (NE) to put forward this initiative and identify dairy farmers’ cooperatives in NE where SMC would buy excess carabao’s milk from. The province of NE is known for being one of the leading producers of carabao’s milk in the country with more than 1.8 million liters of milk production in 2019 based on the data from DA-PCC.

After a joint meeting between the DA-PCC and SMC held last June 3, they were able to identify four DA-PCC-assisted dairy farmer-cooperatives with valid licenses to operate from Food and Drugs Administration, which included Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperatives, Catalanacan Multipurpose Cooperative Inc., Eastern Primary Multipurpose Cooperative, and Pulong Buli Multipurpose Cooperative.

The SMC through San Miguel Foundation Inc. (SMFI) provided fund of Php500,000 for the purchase of 25,000 sachets (Php20 per 200ml sachet) of toned carabao’s milk, a processed product from the farmers’ milk produce.

The DA-PCC, on the other hand, assisted the farmers’ cooperatives and its designated FDA-registered milk processing plant in the transport of the required number of sachets of toned carabao’s milk to its beneficiaries.

SMC, with the help of DA-PCC and dairy co-ops, began conducting a feeding program to distribute sachets of toned carabao’s milk to 25,000 beneficiaries—primarily vulnerable sectors (children, the elderly, and frontliners)—of hard-hit communities in Pampanga, Bulacan, Navotas, Manila, Malabon, Cavite, Quezon City, San Juan, and Mandaluyong.

The initiative is part of SMC’s ongoing efforts to help the agriculture industry and provide basic nutritional support to disadvantaged families and communities, as the country grapples with the impact of the ongoing pandemic on the economy and on people’s welfare.

Carabao’s milk is known to be healthy and nutritious, which can help boost the body’s immunity against COVID-19. It is lower in cholesterol and higher in calcium, protein, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and energy according to the studies conducted by DA-PCC. Because of this, it’s described as “the most complete food”, and is even used in local government health programs to prevent malnutrition.

“This pandemic has really disrupted the daily source of income of dairy value chain players. That’s why the initiative of SMC is very timely. It came at the right time when dairy farmers needed it most. We are glad that in these trying times we have a national company like SMC that initiated to buy excess milk from farmers to help them ensure a sustainable income amid this crisis,” DA-PCC Executive Director Dr. Arnel Del Barrio said.

The project, which is being undertaken by the SMFI, will also have long-term and sustainable benefits for the farmers.

According to Mina Abella, DA-PCC’s Head of Carabao Enterprise Development Section, the SMC has brought into the Phase 2 of the project its packaging arm, San Miguel Yamamura Packaging Corp. (SMYPC), to utilize its technical expertise to provide research and development (R&D) assistance to DA-PCC for the sterilization of milk and link with possible toll manufacturers.

In a press statement of President Ang last June 16, the SMC’s technical assistance will help DA-PCC to develop ways to extend the shelf-life of their carabao’s milk to 3-6 months, way beyond the current seven days. Extended shelf life will eliminate spoilage, thus, providing carabao farmers a wider market, and even higher output and livelihood.

This collaborative R&D effort will benefit recipients of DA-PCC’s feeding program in partnership with the Department of Education and Department of Social Welfare and Development. With extended shelf life, the sterilized milk can be distributed to children in remote areas and schools with no storage facilities.

DA-PCC strengthens support to farmers; launches ALPAS-COVID projects

To help farmers and locals cope with the global pandemic COVID-19 crisis, the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) commemorated the Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s month by launching initiatives geared toward sustainable farm-based livelihood as well as food security and accessibility. Activities were held in San Jose City (SJC), Nueva Ecija from May 27-29.

“We honor our farmers and fisherfolks, some say they are frontliners and are often referred to as backliners but for us they are modern heroes,” DA-PCC Executive Director Arnel Del Barrio said.

He gave emphasis on their incomparable contribution in fighting hunger by continuously helping in food production for the masses, which he said is the true medicine against COVID-19 in the absence of vaccine.

A signing of memorandum of agreement that forges the partnership between the DA-PCC and City Government of San Jose in the conduct of DA-PCC’s new projects in the city was done.

All were aligned with the DA’s “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra COVID-19”. It includes the Unlad Lahi Project (ULaP), Creating Opportunities Through Value Innovations and Development (COVID), Gatas, Isda, Gulay, at Karne (GIGK) project, and Cara-Aralan project.

SJC Mayor Mario “Kokoy” Salvador urged the farmers to engage in the projects diligently with the aim of sustaining it. He emphasized that doing so motivates the government to continuously think of programs and projects that benefit farmers.

During the three-day celebration, launching of related activities on the DA-PCC ALPAS COVID-19 projects happened.

The ULaP focuses not only on increasing milk and meat production but also on helping displaced farmers by creating jobs and providing them livelihood.

Under ULaP, DA-PCC awarded 10 carabaos for fattening to recipient farmers of Tayabo Agro-Entrepreneur Natures Innovators Movement. A new Ruminant Research Clinic (RRC) in Saranay, SJC was also inaugurated. The RRC will help provide “technical and veterinary services” to farmers and carabao owners. A forage grass planting activity was also done beside the RRC building.

Under COVID, applicable technologies and value innovations will be utilized to improve productivity, availability, accessibility, and sustainability of food.  It also aims for the creation of livelihood opportunities through value innovations.

Related to the said project is the development of two new Milka Krem products, the Milky Bun and Milk Pops, both processed with nutrient-rich carabao’s milk that can help boost immunity against COVID-19.

The Milky Bun and 200ml toned carabao’s milk were given to children of 500 households during the community feeding program that the DA-PCC did to help address malnutrition in Brgy. F.E Marcos, SJC.  Another beneficiary is the “Tahanan ng Damayang Kristiyano” in SJC, which provides care to abandoned children and elderly.

Meanwhile, the GIGK project promotes urban agriculture, livelihood opportunities, food and feed production, and value chain approach.

“In GIGK project, we would be using fertilizer from animal manure in our soil, plant and harvest for acquisition of food for people as well as for our carabaos which is a source milk, meat, and organic fertilizer,” Director Del Barrio said.

Part of GIGK project is the simultaneous launching of KADIWA ni Ani at Kita Buffalo Milk on Wheels or Kadiwa BMW mobile store across PCC centers. Kadiwa BMW brings carabao’s milk and dairy products to consumers by going to select cities and towns. The products in the store were processed from the milk produce of PCC-assisted local dairy farmers.

Seeds were also given to select SJC farmer-cooperatives to usher urban gardening and “Gulayan sa Barangay”.

Dr. Del Barrio said that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is also engaged in the GIGK project, on its fish component particularly in aquaponics technology.

The Cara-Aralan project utilizes e-learning, digitized IEC’s and training materials in the sustainability of access to information, education, and communication of farmers and carabao industry stakeholders. It also promotes the DA-PCC’s ALPAS COVID projects.

An online webinar seminar series titled “Gabay sa Wastong Pangangalaga ng Kalabaw” was also launched. Its pilot topic on Calving Management was attended by more than 60 participants from different places in the Philippines and abroad.

In 1998, May was declared as Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s Month under Presidential Proclamation No.33.

NE government pledges investment in milk processing facility, marketing outlet

Soon, local dairy farmers’ produce in Nueva Ecja (NE) province will easily find their way to customers as NE provincial government had committed support in the improvement of milk processing facility and expansion of market for carabao’s milk and dairy products.

NE Governor Aurelio “Oyie” Umali made the pledge during his conversation with DA-PCC Executive Director Dr. Arnel Del Barrio at Milka Krem in the Science City of Muñoz last May 22.

In his visit to the DA-PCC headquarters, Gov. Umali said he will personally make this happen as he recognizes that carabao-based livelihood is a crucial component of farming in NE. His office plans to procure equipment, put up a processing facility and marketing outlet.

According to him, this initiative supports the province’s aim to officially become the “Dairy Buffalo Capital of the Philippines”.

He added that marketing of dairy products produced in NE should expand to the Metro Manila market considering that carabao’s milk is a highly valued commodity. While this is obtaining, he said schools in the province should carry carabao’s milk as a must-drink beverage among schoolchildren.

Meanwhile, Dr. Del Barrio said DA-PCC will show the same enthusiasm as the Governor in pursuing its mandate and in rendering its services. “We are happy to support his administration and accept his challenge in continuing our efforts to help local dairy farmers in NE,” he said.

Also present during the visit were 2nd District Board Member Joseph Ortiz, who is an avid customer of Milka Krem dairy products, and former Board Member Rommel Padilla.

At present, there are about 50 farmer-cooperatives assisted by the DA-PCC in NE, which is also the National Impact Zone for carabao-based enterprise development.