DA-PCC conducts a blended approach for Milkybun Production Training

The DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC), through the Product Development and Innovation Section (PDIS) and KMD’s Learning Events Coordination Section (LECS), is currently conducting a virtual learning activity on Milkybun Production Training to pre-identified cooperatives by island clusters in coordination with the DA-PCC regional centers.

The two-day training employs a blended approach of lecture-discussion, open discussion, on-site virtual tour of the cooperative’s baking facility, followed by a hands-on training virtually supervised by PDIS team.

These select cooperatives were Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative (1st batch) representing Visayas cluster, Bohol Dairy Cooperative and Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives (2nd batch) for Visayas and Luzon clusters, respectively, and lastly, Baclay Multi-Purpose Cooperative for Mindanao cluster.

More or less 30 participants are trained initially from these identified cooperatives. More participants are anticipated from the National Impact Zone (NIZ) or the towns of Nueva Ecija and other DA-PCC regional centers in the future.

The PDIS team headed by Ms. Mina Abella, Supervising Science Research Specialist, explained the rationale of the said activity, which is to address the needs of the cooperatives in acquiring knowledge and skills about the Milkybun production.

On the other hand, Dr. Eufrocina C. Atabay, Chief of PCC’s Research and Development Division, discussed about the Technology Transfer Agreement or Non-disclosure agreement to ensure that the formulation of this technology is exclusive only to the trained cooperatives. She highlighted that this is the first technology or product cascaded for production to support the livelihood of our assisted farmers and partner-cooperatives.

The DA-PCC’s developed Milkybun, an enhanced nutribun owing to incorporation of carabao’s milk, contributes in addressing the malnutrition. Each bun’s nutritive value is equivalent to that of one glass of milk. The DA-PCC ensures that this product provides the energy requirement of the undernourished children, making it compliant to the standards set by the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

This innovation complements provision of fresh milk in the ongoing DepEd’s School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP) and DSWD’s Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP). (Photo by Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative)

Some 4k schoolchildren now benefiting from sterilized canned carabao’s milk

More undernourished children from far-flung and remote areas in Luzon can now benefit from local carabao’s milk following the onset of the distribution of sterilized canned milk with extended shelf life.

Piloting the distribution was the Schools Division Office (SDO) of Aurora with 4,568 beneficiaries under the nationwide school-based feeding program (SBFP) led by the Department of Education (DepEd).

The Licaong Agriculture Cooperative (LAC), one of the DA-PCC-assisted cooperatives in Luzon and milk supplier for the program, delivered in bulk a total of 159,880 cans of sterilized carabao’s milk to the designated drop-off points in Dingalan and San Luis, Aurora, which were received and inspected by their respective SBFP focals.

SDO started the distribution of sterilized milk today with assistance from the parents of the beneficiaries. It was done simultaneously with the provision of the students’ learning modules.

Under the program, each child will receive 180 ml sterilized canned milk every day for 35 feeding days.

Recently, the DA-PCC contracted a third-party toll packer to pack an initial four million cans of sterilized milk through a retort facility using some 40,000 liters of carabao’s milk supplied by local farmer’s cooperatives in Luzon. The products will be distributed in Regions 1 to 3 and parts of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

The retort process allows fresh carabao’s milk to be sterilized in aluminum cans without the need for preservatives.

Through this improved packaging, the shelf life of carabao’s milk is extended from seven days to six months, hence more school children will be able to drink nutritious carabao’s milk, particularly those in previously unreachable areas, and those with no electricity or limited storage facilities.

Aside from the extended shelf life, the sterilized canned milk can easily be transported, stored under room temperature without spoilage, and delivered in bulk rather than on a daily basis.

LAC is also set to deliver 153,725 cans of sterilized carabao’s milk to Bulacan; 4,000 to Mabalacat; and 24,219 to Olongapo before the end of June. Other DepEd SDOs that will distribute sterilized canned carabao’s milk to their respective beneficiaries include Zambales, Tarlac Province, Pampanga, Ilocos Sur, Abra, Pangasinan, San Fernando City, Kalinga, Tabuk City, Bataan, and Nueva Vizcaya.

DA-PCC incorporates whey in fruit flavored isotonic drink

The DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC), through the Product Development and Innovation Section (PDIS), recently reached a milestone in advancing products development by way of incorporating whey into its fruit-flavored isotonic drink. This means whey, which is previously considered as waste, is now put to good use while reducing harm to the environment.

The PDIS team headed by Ms. Mina Abella, Supervising Science Research Specialist, submitted the utility model for registration under the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, which was approved and published last February 2021.

The utility model relates to the use of whey and fruit as flavoring in beverage production. Whey is the liquid remaining after the milk has been curdled and strained during cheese production. It was previously considered as a pollutant or waste because of its high organic matter content causing serious environmental problems. Various technological approaches have been employed to convert whey into value-added products such as energy drinks.

“When we do cheese making, we only get the curds so the whey usually goes to waste. Instead of letting it go to waste, we thought we should just develop it into another valuable product as additional income for dairy cooperatives and interested entrepreneurs. We wanted to add value to it because whey is still nutritious. In fact, whey-based food and beverage products are already introduced in the market and they are often a choice for health-conscious people,” Abella said.

She furthered that whey is an excellent source of high quality protein and amino acids good for muscle tissue development. It also helps in lowering blood pressure, enhancing the body’s antioxidant defense, which can prevent or slow down the damage of cells caused by free radicals, and promoting weight loss.

Out of 10 liters of fresh milk utilized for cheese production, 8 to 10 liters of whey are produced. The fruit-flavored isotonic drink utilizes fresh acid whey and aims to reduce its lactose content using lactase enzyme. The collected whey is then used in preparation of an isotonic whey beverage intended for the lactose intolerant and to replenish nutrients that are lost during physical activities.

 The drink is flavored to give a much more soothing, refreshing, and pleasing drinking experience for consumers. Currently, the fruit flavoring includes mango, lemon and orange. The DA-PCC at Central Luzon State University (CLSU) has also produced a line of whey products such as whey vinegar, whey wine, whey taho and ricotta cheese. 

Agrarian reform beneficiaries venture into coconut-carabao enterprise

Agrarian reform beneficiaries and small coconut farmers in Biliran have recently ventured in social entrepreneurship by joining the Coconut-Carabao Development Project (CCDP), a joint undertaking of the DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) and DA-Philippine Coconut Authority (DA-PCA).

Said venture commenced with the entrustment of 34 head of dairy buffaloes as seed animals to the recipient cooperative Canila Agrarian Reform (CARCO) last April 26-27 in Brgy. Canila, Biliran, Biliran.

CARCO is a small coconut farmers organization (SCFO) supported by the DA-PCA. This cooperative is composed of farmer-members who are cultivating rice and coconut.

Currently, CARCO is an active recipient of DA-PCA’s Kasaganaan sa Niyugan ay Kaunlaran ng Bayan (KAANIB) Projects with components that include distribution of cacao seedlings and livestock dispersal. As an active SCFO involved in DA-PCA’s KAANIB Enterprise Development Program (KEDP), CARCO was selected by DA-PCA to serve as conduit cooperative for the CCDP in Biliran.

The recipients were initially met with challenges on handling the crossbred buffaloes but with the introduction of Cara-Aralan sa Niyugan, they were gradually walked through on how to go about with the project. Cara-Aralan sa Niyugan is a blended learning modality on dairy buffalo management and production.

Chrestian Bacalla, project development officer for CCDP-Biliran, said while the farmers were initially challenged to take on the project, they were grateful of this opportunity and they are willing and committed to make their newfound venture a success.

The entrustment activity was also attended by DA-PCC’s Regional Center Operating in Eastern Visayas led by Director Francisco Gabunada, Jr, Senior Science Research Specialist Dr. Ivy Fe Lopez, Community Development Officer Renato Briones, and Farm Superintendent Andres Amihan, Jr.

Photos by Chrestian Bacalla