DA-PCC at VSU, DepEd Baybay ink agreement for division-wide school feeding

The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at Visayas State University (DA-PCC at VSU), together with the Baybay City Division, conducted an orientation and signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the implementation of School-based Milk Feeding Program (SBFP).

Dr. Ivy Fe M. Lopez, OIC-Center Director of PCC-VSU and Lorelei M. Mesias, Assistant OIC-Schools Division Superintendent and Jeanne Araneta, School Division Nurse spearheaded the orientation and MOA signing last July 16, 2020 at the Baybay City Division Office, Baybay City, Leyte. The activity was participated in by Baybay City schools feeding coordinators, and DA-PCC at VSU carabao-based enterprise development (CBED) program coordinator Johnson T. Royo, Jr. and Science Research Specialist I Letuz M. Sudaria.

“I’m glad that despite the pandemic, DA-PCC at VSU has proactively linked and partnered with us,” Mesias said. The agreement of DA-PCC at VSU and Department of Education (DepEd) directly supports RA 11037 Masustansyang Pagkain sa Batang Pilipino Act, which stipulates for the nationwide SBFP.

The feeding program aims to address undernourishment among public day care, kindergarten and elementary pupils in the country.

The Baybay City Division will be the first to conduct milk feeding in Eastern Visayas as per commitment by the DA-PCC at VSU. The program targets 2,275 beneficiaries covering the 10 school districts of Baybay City as expected drop-off points in the area within the period of 20 days.

An orientation on milk handling protocols was shared by Letuz M. Sudaria of DA-PCC at VSU where participants were taught of proper and safe distribution of milk to schools.

Dr. Lopez said the center is willing to help in terms of delivering milk to the assigned drop-off points. “This will be our counterpart to help alleviate malnutrition among children. Also, we are here to help our providers especially our local farmers and dairy cooperatives become the main suppliers for the feeding program.”

The milk feeding program, which supposedly started in March but was deferred due to the pandemic, will start on August 24 in time for the proposed opening of classes.

DA-PCC at MMSU assists pandemic-hit communities thru urban agriculture

In response to the food crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at Mariano Marcos State University (DA-PCC at MMSU) ushers immediate interventions for food production, availability, and accessibility.

In partnership with the Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center I, the Department of Agriculture-Ilocos Norte Research and Experiment Center and the Municipal Agriculture Office of the City of Batac, the project dubbed “Urban Gardening and Edible Landscaping: Intensifying Vegetable Production Towards a Food Secure Society” was launched in the City of Batac on July 6.

The intervention targets about 1,000 participants residing in urban barangays with limited area for vegetable production.

Under the project, training demonstrations will be held simultaneously in various barangays. It was initially launched in Batac City to be followed by the municipality of Badoc on July 14-16 then in Laoag City on July 20-21.

Participating agencies provided resources and technical expertise to the beneficiaries. Starter kits that include vegetable seeds, seedlings, seedling trays, seedling bags, trowels, vermicast, compost, carbonized rice hull, nylon rope, straw, and IEC materials were distributed.

The project is aligned with the DA-PCC’s “Gatas, Isda, Gulay, at Karne (GIGK) Project” under the DA’s “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra COVID-19”, specifically Urban Agriculture and Plant Plant Plant Program. The GIGK promotes urban agriculture, food and feed production, value chain approach, and creation of livelihood opportunities as a source of income for vulnerable sectors in the midst of the global health emergency.

DA-PCC at CMU undergoes virtual surveillance audit for quality management system

After its successful certification to the Quality Management System (ISO 9001:2015) in March last year, the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at Central Mindanao University (DA-PCC at CMU) submitted to a virtual surveillance audit with certifying body TÜV Rheinland last June 30. 

Prior to this was a technical assessment conducted by Mary Grace Balobalo, lead auditor of TÜV Rheinland, which evaluated the readiness of the center for the audit. 

“We then came up with recommendations and opportunities for improvement to ensure the continuous improvement of the center’s QMS,” Balobalo said. 

Vicenta Canatoy, DA-PCC at CMU’s quality management representative, said the virtual audit, which is the “new normal” to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19, takes up only 50 percent of the total audit time. An on-site audit will still be conducted as soon as the quarantine protocols ease up. 

“Ideally, office-based processes are likely to be more suitable for remote audit while production or laboratory processes would suit for on-site audit,” Canatoy added. 

“If our certification will be renewed, it will give the center a competitive advantage in terms of the products and services it offers to its various clienteles,” Dr. Elena Paraguas, DA-PCC at CMU’s lead auditor, said. 

Dr. Paraguas emphasized that a renewal of certification will prove that the center is able to sustain a strong quality management system and that its human resource has a sound understanding of its processes and how to effectively and efficiently carry them out. 

“We will not only be able to prove that our processes are documented but that the system is effectively working,” Mary Fe Montaño, document control officer, added. 

TÜV Rheinland is an independent expert on inspection services for quality and safety for people, technology and the environment in nearly all aspects of life.

SoCot carapreneurs eye promising biz in new dairy hub

Dairy buffalo farmers in South Cotabato prepare for exciting opportunities in dairying with an assured market for their milk produce following the establishment of a marketing outlet  in Surallah, South Cotabato.

During a groundbreaking ceremony held last July 8, Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at University of Southern Mindanao (DA-PCC at USM) Center Director Benjamin John C. Basilio emphasized the importance of the dairy hub as a venue to promote quality milk products in Region XII.

Said hub is the first-ever processing hub for buffalo’s milk in the region.

“With the establishment of this hub, we are gradually completing the carabao value-chain in South Cotabato. Buffalo’s milk for processing will be coming from the produce of carapreneurs from Banga, Lake Sebu, Sto. Niño, Surallah, T’boli and neighboring towns in South Cotabato,” Director Basilio said.

“We are expecting an increase in the demand for buffalo’s milk products following this milestone,” Loyda Estañol, a dairy farmer and member of CADAFA-Surallah, said.

Underscoring the DA’s slogan “Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita”, Department of Agriculture Region XII Director Arlan M. Mangelen expressed his staunch support to the project to help achieve the goal to produce more milk in the region and alleviate farmers from mere subsistence.

The construction of the Php3.6-million dairy hub is part of the Php10 million budget of the Carabao Value Chain Improvement Network (CVIN) for South Cotabato under the project Accelerating Livelihood and Assets Buildup or ALAB-Karbawan initiated by Senate Committee Chair on Agriculture and Food Senator Cynthia A. Villar.

ALAB-Karbawan project makes headway in SoCot

Focused on alleviating malnutrition among indigenous people in Upper Valley, South Cotabato, the DA-Philippine Carabao Center at University of Southern Mindanao (DA-PCC at USM) launched recently the Accelerating Livelihood and Assets Buildup (ALAB) Karbawan project in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

The Highland Agricultural Credit Cooperative (HACC) is the participating conduit cooperative.

Initially, 18 animals from a total commitment of 50 head female crossbred buffaloes were entrusted to the conduit co-op as component of the project, which was sponsored by Senator Cynthia A. Villar.

“We make sure that our dairy projects like ALAB-Karbawan are inclusive and accessible to all sectors especially the marginalized such as indigenous people. It is quite challenging for HACC to develop and sustain a dairy value chain but with the support of our partners and the local and provincial governments, we can help them achieve a ‘masaganang ani at mataas na kita’ as espoused by the Department of Agriculture,” Benjamin John C. Basilio, DA-PCC at USM center director, said.

Regional executive director of DA-RFO-XII Arlan M. Mangelen reiterated the all-out support of the regional office to the project beneficiaries. Mangelen recognized in his message the important role of dairy farmers in contributing to national food security.

In addition, DA-RFO-XII “Task Force Gatas” Ret. Col. Celestino Desamito challenged the HACC to boost their capacity in dairying in order to address malnutrition and develop a dairy hub in Upper Valley.

“We are ready to take on all the challenges that are coming our way. Dairying is new to us but with the able guidance of PCC, we are looking forward to a flourishing local dairy industry in Lake Sebu,” Merlinda Go, HACC chairperson, said.

Prior to the entrustment of dairy animals, HACC members have undergone social preparation and technical training on buffalo production and management to help them develop strong commitment to the project and to provide them with knowledge and skills on dairy production systems. Soon, members of the co-op are expected to serve as effective disseminators of technologies on improved management practices to fellow farmers.

Elyu farmers receive buffaloes for fattening

As one component of the Department of Agriculture’s Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra COVID-19 (ALPAS COVID-19) Program, 30 buffaloes for fattening were entrusted to farmer-members of Sudipen Dairy Farmers Association in Barangay Castro, Sudipen, La Union last July 1.

The initiative is under one of the four components of the project called Unlad Lahi Project (ULaP), whose objective is to increase milk and meat production, create jobs, and provide livelihood for displaced farmers.

The DA-Philippine Carabao Center at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DA-PCC@DMMMSU), headed by its Officer in Charge Center Director Vilma Gagni, in partnership with the local government unit of La Union, spearheaded the activity.

“Kung mangangarap lang din tayo, lakihan na natin (If we’re going to dream, we better make it big),” DA-PCC Executive Director Dr. Arnel del Barrio said in a motivational speech addressing the recipients of the buffaloes.

He said their small-scale association could very well become provincewide someday.

Marvin Macanas, chairman of the recipient association and a village-based AI technician, expressed his gratitude to PCC and the LGU of La Union for this project that is expected to provide livelihood opportunities to farmers.

After the short program, community feeding of more than 20 select children with 200 ml pasteurized carabao’s milk was conducted under Gulay, Isda, Gatas at Karne (GIGK), which is another project component of ALPAS COVID-19.

The feeding program coincided with the celebration of the Nutrition Month with the theme “Batang Pinoy SANA TALL… Iwas stunting, SANA ALL!” with the objective of raising awareness on stunting among Filipino children and eventually reducing its prevalence.

A meeting between the Provincial Government of La Union and DA-PCC was also held to discuss the implementation of Dairy Buffalo-based Enterprise Project to be funded by Senator Cynthia Villar wherein at least 60 dairy carabaos, milk processing equipment and milk outlet will be covered.

DA-PCC at MMSU receives commendation

The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at Mariano Marcos State University (DA-PCC at MMSU), along with other government agencies, institutions, and individuals, were recognized by the City Government of Batac in a simple ceremony on June 29, 2020.

During the 39th regular session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod held on May 11, 2020, a resolution was passed acknowledging the effort of PCC at MMSU to deliver relief assistance to the vulnerable sector in the midst of a state of health emergency due to COVID-19.

The DA-PCC at MMSU provided 200 ml packs of fresh milk and choco milk for 10 days to 803 frontliners of the LGU, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), University Security Force, as well as Persons Deprived of Liberty.

Vice Mayor Windell D. Chua said DA-PCC at MMSU’s manifestation of kindness to the people of Batac at the time of crisis is appreciated.

Mayor Albert D. Chua, on the other hand, ensured that whatever assistance they receive will surely reach the people of Batac. Prof. Grace Marjorie R. Recta, center director of DA-PCC at MMSU, received the certificates during the ceremony dubbed as “Panagyaman Kadagiti Naparabur a Kailian” held at the Sangguniang Panlungsod Session Hall.

PCC, PLGU partner in provincewide community milk feeding

Some 5,130 undernourished children are expected to benefit from the recently launched provincewide community milk feeding program in Bohol.

The initial delivery of 200-ml toned milk to five municipalities on May 6, 2020 launched the partnership between the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at Ubay Stock Farm (DA-PCC at USF) and Bohol Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) for the said program.

“Bohol Governor Arthur Yap approved the Php6 million-worth program to help dairy farmers market their milk produce even in the time of pandemic. While aiming for this, we also want to boost the immunity  of those belonging in the vulnerable sectors”, Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz, the provincial veterinarian of Bohol, said.

Prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian crafted the Agricultural Rural Transformation (ART) program through the dairy production project.

The ART detailed the major strategies and activities to be carried out to ensure that there would be enough supply of locally produced milk to meet the requirement of the Department of Education (DepEd) under RA 11037 or the National Feeding Program Act.

The supposed implementation of the national milk feeding program was, however, indefinitely deferred due to the pandemic but production support services such as artificial insemination (AI) will continue.

Farmers who will be participating in the feeding project will be enrolled in a database to ensure that they will comply to the directive of Governor Yap on boosting local milk production.

“Initially nakasugod na gayud sa San Miguel. Nag actual nag enrollment sa mga additional na kabaw sa mga farmers. Naabtan man ta sa COVID mao to medyo ni hinay para pagtabok sa pikas nga lungsod peru  despite adto nakasugod naman lagi padayon me sa A.I ug enrollment.  For San Miguel alone naka enroll ta ug 160 ka mga kabaw for dairy (We started enrolling additional farmers’ carabaos in San Miguel. Travelling to the municipalities, however, became restricted because of COVID but we were still able to enroll  160 head of carabaos for dairy in San Miguel alone”, Dr. Lapiz said.

She added the PLGU intends to use the fund for milk importation to help local farmers instead of patronizing imported produce.

Meanwhile, DA-PCC at USF facilitates and monitors the production of quality milk, ensures that milk products adhere to food safety and standards, and assists the delivery to beneficiaries.

The community feeding program, which is hoped to culminate in August 2020 and will run for 60 days, is co-implemented by the Bohol Provincial Education Center and Provincial Nutrition Council, and.  The participating municipalities include the following: Pres. Carlos P. Garcia, Talibon, Bien Unido, Getafe, Buenavista, Ubay, San Miguel, Sagbayan, Danao, Pilar, Alicia, Guindulman, Baclayon, Sevilla, Balilihan, Carmen, and Cortes.

Milk will be sourced out from the Bohol Dairy Cooperative (BODACO).

PCAF, DA-PCC, NEFEDCCO tie up for health awareness advocacy

Aside from alleviating malnutrition among children, market for dairy farmers’ produce was also guaranteed under the joint undertaking of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (DA-PCAF), DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC), and Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperatives (NEFEDCCO).

This was following the signing of a memorandum of agreement among the three parties, which aims to advocate for health awareness in response to the unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the partnership, NEFEDCCO has a sure market for its milk produce as the DA-PCAF procured Php100,000 worth of carabao’s milk (a total of 300 liters) to be used in a milk feeding program for three months, which will benefit 46 malnourished children (3-5 years old) from the select barangays of Talavera in Nueva Ecija.

The DA-PCAF, headed by OIC-Executive Director Dr. Liza Battad, closely coordinated with NEFEDCCO in identifying the recipients for the milk feeding program. It identified 46 beneficiaries in areas with high incidence of malnutrition among children. Other factors such as the feeding center’s proximity to the source of pasteurized milk and availability of cooling facilities for the pasteurized milk were considered in the selection.

This initiative is DA-PCAF’s effort to contribute to the DA’s mandate of ensuring food availability and sufficiency and providing income to the farmers and fisherfolk.

The undertaking seeks to become an advocacy program worthy of emulation by other local government units with milk producers and disadvantaged children.

The DA-PCC, meanwhile, assists NEFEDCCO in the implementation of the project through its National Impact Zone that covers the province of Nueva Ecija under its Carabao Development Program. It also supports the federation in milk analysis and other relevant technical services that will ensure the quality of carabao’s milk product through the DA-PCC’s Carabao Enterprise Development Section.

This effort aims to encourage carabao-based cooperatives across the DA-PCC network to become members of the Agricultural and Fishery Councils as advisory bodies of the DA.

The milk feeding started last June 1 and will end in August. NEFEDCCO and DA-PCC will continuously monitor and provide feedback to DA-PCAF regarding the status of implementation of the advocacy project.