The implementation of the Accelerating Livelihood and Assets Buildup (ALAB)– Karbawan projects has become a harbinger of hope not only in providing business opportunities to carapreneurs but also in boosting the local dairy industry.
This has been corroborated by the recent accomplishments of the ALAB-Karbawan development project across the country, which is currently being spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC).
ALAB-Karbawan is an umbrella program initiative and popularized name for two province-wide Carabao-based Enterprise Development implementation projects namely Carabao-based Business Improvement Network (CBIN) and Coconut-Carabao Development Project (CCDP), both initiated and funded by the Office of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform Chairperson Senator Cynthia Villar.
Sen. Villar has long been a strong advocate for spurring the local dairy industry, thus, she promotes dairy enterprise as another income-generating venture for smallholder farmers.
ALAB-Karbawan also supports the main goal of the government to increase the country’s milk production and create livelihood opportunities, hence Sen. Villar allotted a total budget of PHP545 million for the implementation of CBIN (PHP295M for FY2019 and FY2020; on process budget of PHP110M for FY2021) and CCDP (PHP140M).
The CBIN and CCDP are expected to start up or improve dairy development in the identified provinces through entrustment of dairy buffaloes, engagement of processing plants and outlets to pursue carabao-based business ventures, and provision of capability-building and technical support services.
The project sites include Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Bataan, Oriental Mindoro, Quezon Province, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Palawan, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Antique, Aklan, Leyte, Biliran, Northern Samar, Samar, Zamboanga Peninsula, Misamis Oriental, Davao Del Sur, Davao De Oro, Davao Oriental, South Cotabato, and North Cotabato.
The CBIN project, launched in October 2019, aims to establish a robust carabao-based enterprise in recipient provinces, thereby creating livelihood for farmers.
The project is being implemented in 28 project sites covering 26 provinces nationwide. As of August 13, 2021, it has entrusted a total of 937 female crossbred buffaloes to farmer recipients in different provinces. Likewise, DA-PCC has entrusted a total of 151 buffaloes, including bulls, to further intensify herd build-up in the provinces.
More than 700 farmers and LGU partners were capacitated through a series of learning events, which included Farmer Livestock School on Dairy Buffalo Production (FLS-DBP) and trainings on social preparation, organization, and management. Also, the project sites in Pangasinan, Tarlac, Bataan, Albay, Palawan, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Davao Oriental and North Cotabato have already established their respective processing facilities and dairy market outlets.
Cooperative-partners were, likewise, engaged to supply milk and milk products in support of RA 11037 or Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act, wherein one of the components is the Milk Feeding Program. In 2020, more than 100,000 children benefited from the locally sourced milk produced by the said cooperatives. It is estimated that by 2021, participating cooperatives nationwide will earn more than PHP50 million through the Milk Feeding Program.
As for the CCDP, which was launched in October 2020, the DA-PCC and DA-Philippine Coconut Authority (DA-PCA) have collaborated to develop the dairy carabao value chain in a coconut farming system.
Coconut farmers through sustainable carabao-based livelihoods are expected to earn additional income and venture into new business opportunities.
As of December 31, 2020, the project’s budget amounting to PHP37,305,000 has been downloaded to identified DA-PCC regional centers where preparatory activities have been conducted to mobilize provincial partners. Currently, a total of 89 dairy buffaloes have also been entrusted in three recipient provinces.
The project also aims to ensure the availability of locally produced milk in support of RA 11037 to help address the problem of undernutrition among school children.
Moreover, the DA-PCA will download the Year 2 budget amounting to PHP102,695,000 once the budget for the 1st year has been obligated. Included in this budget are the construction of dairy processing and marketing infrastructure and start-up dairy equipment. The DA-PCC will implement initiatives with the assistance of DA-PCA in the entrustment of dairy carabaos, provision of processing and marketing equipment and facilities, capability-building activities, and technical support services. The project will be implemented in 17 project sites in 14 provinces. (With reports from Chamanei C. Elias)