Pangasinan PLGU, DA-PCC gear up for Provincial Livestock Biotechnology program

The Provincial Government of Pangasinan, represented by Assistant Provincial Agriculturist Nestor Batalla and Prov. Engineer Nilo Buenconsejo, visited the DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) National Headquarters and Gene Pool on September 23 to see the agency’s animal housing facilities, milking parlor, and practices, which can be adopted at the Laoac-Provincial Dairy Farm (LPDF) of Pangasinan.

The team of Mr. Batalla was accompanied by DA-PCC at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DA-PCC at DMMMSU) Center Director Vilma Gagni, who covers the Carabao Development Program operations in Pangasinan. 

The visit of Mr. Batalla was based on earlier plans with the DA-PCC’s Reproduction and Physiology Section (RPS), led by Dr. Danilda Hufana-Duran, to  establish the livestock biotechnology program of Pangasinan. Since the buffaloes at LPDF are crossbreds, the bloodline of these animals needs to be upgraded to produce higher volume of milk and support the province-wide milk feeding program.

Using reproductive biotechnologies, Dr. Edwin Atabay of RPS in partnership with DA-PCC at DMMMSU carried out the Fixed-Time Artificial Insemination using semen of selected river buffalo bulls last September 8-19 to produce 75% generations of crossbreds. With the expected calving of the pregnant animals, construction of the milking parlor is needed, hence the visit.

DA-PCC OIC Executive Director Dr. Ronnie D. Domingo welcomed the team and accompanied them to the milking parlor at the DA-PCC National Gene Pool; Central Dairy Collection and Processing Facility; Milka Krem where dairy products are marketed; and the ACDI Farm in Lomboy, San Jose City.  

The LPDF started their operation in February with 93 head of crossbred buffaloes. As these animals are crossbreds, facilitation of the production of purebred animals using advanced reproductive biotechnologies was proposed. Dr. Domingo instructed Dr. Hufana-Duran to craft the project proposal for funding by the Department of Agriculture.

Roster of DA-PCC’s scientists

Five DA-PCC researchers took oath either as newly conferred or upgraded scientists, under the Scientific Career System (SCS) by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in a virtual ceremony held on September 22.

DA-PCC’s National Genetic Improvement Program (GIP) Coordinator Dr. Ester Flores and Senior Science Research Specialist Dr. Lerma Ocampo have been conferred the rank of Scientist I under the Agricultural Sciences Division effective December 3, 2020 and May 21, 2021, respectively, joining the agency’s growing pool of career scientists. 

DA-PCC’s scientist couple Dr. Edwin and Eufrocina Atabay were conferred Scientist II rank effective May 21 while Deputy Executive Director for Production and Research Dr. Claro Mingala was upgraded to career Scientist IV effective January 26.

Their significant contributions and noteworthy accomplishments in the agricultural science made them qualified and eligible to the career scientist rank, granted by the Scientific Career Council (SCC), which is the governing body of the SCS. 

The SCS is “a system of recruitment, career progression, recognition and reward of scientists in the government service as a means of developing a pool of highly qualified and productive scientific personnel”. Its program is being administered by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).

Agri Chief William Dar leads inauguration of ‘National Livestock Cryobank’

Department of Agriculture Secretary Dr. William Dar led the unveiling of the facility marker of the National Livestock Cryobank (NLC), which serves as a national repository of germplasm and biological samples from diverse livestock species, on September 3.

The NLC, situated at the Livestock Innovations and Biotechnology Complex of the DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, will aid in the advancement of research for development (R4D) works on ex-situ cryoconservation for animal genetic resources (AnGR) from diverse livestock species towards conservation, management, and utilization, leading to sustainable animal production systems.

These endeavours are seen to sustain the genetic diversity of livestock species in the country and to provide a source of genetics to be used by farmers, livestock breeders, and other interested clients.

Secretary Dar, during the inauguration program, tried depositing frozen buffalo semen in the cryotank as part of a demonstration that the AnGR can be stored in an extremely cold temperature and can stay viable until future utilization. The NLC has a total of six cryotanks that store AnGR in liquid nitrogen.

The construction of this facility was made possible through the technical assistance and generous support of DA-PCC’s international partners, which include the United States of America through the PL480 project and the Republic of South Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

Following the inauguration activity was the signing of administrative order and memorandum circular to formally declare DA-PCC’s cryobank facility as the National Livestock Cryobank towards conservation and management program.

The agriculture chief was also briefed on the agency’s technologies and research initiatives, in which he urged researchers and technology developers to not only focus on publication but also dwell more on the application and impact of such technologies for the benefit of rural farming families.

Apart from the inauguration activity, Secretary Dar, also presided the 22nd Advisory Board Meeting composed of the following: DA-PCC’s top management, DA-PCC former executive director, DA Undersecretary for Livestock, Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) Executive Director, Bureau of Animal Industry Director, Chancellor of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB) and presidents of Central Luzon State University (CLSU), Central Mindanao University (CMU), Cagayan State University (CSU), Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU), Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), Visayas State University (VSU), West Visayas State University (WVSU), University of Southern Mindanao (USM), and farmers’ representatives. The 23rd AdBoard meeting will be held in December.

He also led the opening of the Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita farmers’ exhibit at the DA-PCC grounds. (With reports from Lilian Villamor)

DA-PCC hosts ‘DA-Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita’ in N.E.

Novo Ecijanos can now easily access and buy fresh, affordable, and quality agri-fishery products through the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita farmers exhibit currently set up at the DA-Philippine Carabao Center grounds. 

The Kadiwa (Katuwang sa Diwa at Gawa) ni Ani at Kita program at DA-PCC was put up at the Milka Krem compound in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija on September 3 in support of the DA’s twin objectives of “masaganang ani (bountiful harvest)” and “mataas na kita (higher income)” for farmers and fisherfolk.

Said program, launched in September 2019 and rolled out across the country, serves as a direct marketing link between farmers and fisherfolk and consumers. This initiative makes farm produce accessible and affordable to consumers.

Leading the opening of the Kadiwa stores at DA-PCC were Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Noel Reyes, Assistant Secretary-designate for Regulations Dr. Liza Battad, DA-PCC’s OIC Executive Director Dr. Ronnie Domingo, Deputy Executive Director for Administration and Finance Dr. Caro Salces, and Deputy Executive Director for Production and Research Dr. Claro Mingala.

A total of 10 booths were set up, eight of which were manned by DA-PCC’s assisted cooperatives in Nueva Ecija including Eastern Primary Multipurpose Cooperative (MPC), Simula ng Panibagong Bukas MPC, Brotherskeeper MPC, all in San Jose City; Catalanacan MPC, Licaong Agriculture Cooperative, Aling Maria Homemade sweets in Science City of Muñoz; Caudillo Prutas at Gulay Producers Cooperative in Cabanatuan City; and Bongabon Dairy Cooperative in Bongabon.  

Sec. Dar visited each booth and took cognizance of the farmers’ plight amid the pandemic. He encouraged them to carry on and assured them of government’s initiatives, one of which is the Kadiwa, to help them sell their commodities directly to buyers.

“This Kadiwa is a good opportunity for farmers and co-op members to bring their agri-fishery products to communities. Some of our products like corn, sweet potato, and eggplant are outcomes of the Gatas, Gulay, Karne (GGK) project of DA-PCC. Consumers may opt to buy such products here instead of going and queuing to the market,” Samuel Mercader, EPMPC member and one of the sellers, said.

Kadiwa stalls are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Friday. Among the products on sale include carabao’s milk-based and Kardeli carabao meat products, native delicacies, squash, string beans, sweet corn, calamansi, cucumber, tomatoes, papaya, sweet potato, native chicken, oyster mushroom, eggplant, okra, and other assorted lowland vegetables and fruits. (Photo by Chrissalyn Marcelo)