DA-PCC to form regional, national councils for Dairy Box standardization

The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) will form regional and national councils to standardize the 24 Dairy Box Stores in the country following its agreement with its clients and carabao-based enterprise development (CBED) coordinators to form such body.

The agreement was made during the conduct of the Dairy Box Standardization Workshop of DA-PCC in Iloilo (for Visayas and Mindanao clusters) and Baguio City (Luzon cluster) last June 1-2 and July 7-8, respectively.

Dairy Box is a physical store, which brings the carabao farmers’ buffalo-derived products closer to the market. It was launched by the DA-PCC in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija in 2015 and continuously multiplying across the country after the said launching.

Dairy Box Standardization lead and Project Evaluation Officer Jan Czarina Salas said that the initiative for the purpose started when the DA-PCC observed that the multiplication of the said stores varies when it comes to branding and operations, hence, the need to form regional and national councils that will oversee such concerns.

Based on the agreement, the regional and national councils will each have an organized set of officers including its chairperson, vice-chairperson, and others.

The regional council will be formed in the 12 regional centers of DA-PCC across the country, while the national council will be organized through the election of chairpersons coming from the regional councils. It will be composed of stakeholders coming from both the public and private sectors, including the farmer-beneficiaries of the Dairy Boxes and the DA-PCC. Said councils will also be assisted by the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) whose services include formulation of sound policies, plans and program for both of the public and private sectors.

The workshop was conducted through lectures and hands-on training. Dr. Edilyn Lansangan, DA-PCC Financial Analyst Giselle Sacupaso, and DA-PCC Science Research Specialist Pauline Maramag served as the resource persons during the activity. They talked about competitive marketing strategies for dairy retail store operations, inventory and basic cash management, and record management tools.

Initial deliberation and sharing on the following items were also discussed as part of the urgent concerns that need to be addressed by the councils: (1) Product Mix, (2) Store Merchandizing, (3) Marketing and Promotion, (4) Record Keeping, and Cash and Inventory Management, (5) Guidelines in Promotion and Distribution; and (6) creation of partnership and sustainability programs particularly in the hiring of focal person per regional centers and partner qualification and incentive mechanism.

DA-PCC officials named outstanding gov’t workers in CSC Regional HAP

DA-PCC OIC Executive Director Dr. Caro B. Salces and Supervising Science Research Specialist Dr. Peregrino G. Duran each received the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Pagasa Award in the recent 2022 Search for Outstanding Government Employees Regional Honor Awards Program (HAP)-Region 3.

CSC Field Office DA/DENR Director Fe P. Lacaba formally conferred the award on Drs. Salces and Duran with a certificate in a ceremony with DA-PCC staff held in Doña Josefa, Quezon City on July 6, 2022.

“Ito ay simbolo hindi lang sa amin but simbolo ng ating agency at officemates,” said Dr. Salces.

With four other CSC awardees from DA-PCC last year, he noted that these consecutive recognitions are reflective of the exceptional workers that the agency breeds. In addition, he said that the award is a result of the team effort and passion of each PCCean from across the network.

“I know marami din sa mga kasama natin sa DA-PCC are deserving (of this award). Hindi lang kami ni Doc Bong ang nagsipag at naging commited, marami pang iba sa atin,” he said.

“The culture of excellence, professionalism, integrity, innovative, commitment at saka socio-ecological responsiveness (EPIICS) –itong ating kultura (sa PCC) ang nagdala sa atin upang magawa ang mga kailangan nating gawin to provide quality services sa ating mga kliyente,” added Dr. Salces.

Dr. Duran corroborates this statement by saying that his years in the agency are purpose-driven with the mission to provide quality services to farmers in order to improve their livelihood.

“Every encounter with successful farmers whose livelihood depends greatly on their carabao gives me joy and assurance that our jobs keep this system,” Dr. Duran said.

“I will continue with the mission that God entrusted to me, and may we continue to have progress in this industry,” he concluded.

The CSC Pagasa Award is given to individuals or groups for outstanding contribution/s resulting from idea or performance that benefit more than one department of the government. The two awardees will advance to the national screening of said award. The announcement of national winners is yet to be scheduled.

DA-PCC conducts cycle assessment, catch-up planning for milk feeding program

The DA-PCC’s nationwide commitment for the DepEd’s School-based Feeding Program in 2022 has already reached 1,157,825 beneficiaries, 24.46% of such commitment were from its National Headquarters and Gene Pool (NHQGP). It is 5.07% higher than the 2019 level, which had 19.39% record of share in the national commitment. Moreover, two successful cycles of the supplementary feeding program of DSWD have been concluded while another milk feeding program is underway for the month of July.

These were some of the notable accomplishments highlighted during the recently conducted Cycle Assessment and Catch-up Planning for the Milk Feeding Program and Organizational Development Activity in San Juan, La Union.

Said activity was participated in by the agency’s Milk Feeding staff members headed by newly designated DA-PCC National Milk Feeding Coordinator Joel F. Cabading and Central Dairy Collection Processing Facility (CDCPF) Management and Processing personnel headed by Plant Manager Marivic A. Orge.

Republic Act 11037 also known as the “Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act” unlocked opportunities for DA-PCC to extend its hand to its assisted dairy local farmers and cooperatives. This law generally aims to improve the nutritional status of undernourished children and at the same time create market channels for the milk products of local dairy farmers.

Aside from the increased number of beneficiaries, the DA-PCC now provides services from 15 Schools Division Offices (SDO) of DepEd in 2019 to 19 SDOs after extending its area of milk supplementation from Regions 2 and 3 to the National Capital Region (NCR). This progress also paves the way to creating a direct market for more DA-PCC-assisted milk feeding suppliers, from four cooperatives and one federation in 2019 to six cooperatives and one federation in 2022.

The activity also had a discussion, facilitated by Orge, where identified issues and concerns throughout the value chain from the previous and on-going cycles of the milk feeding program were tackled and provided with possible solutions. Several plans and actions were developed to cope with the dynamic changes affecting the implementation of the program.

An Organizational Development Activity, facilitated by Cabading, was conducted as well to develop individual capacity among the participants in pursuing and accomplishing their respective tasks and responsibilities.

Furthermore, the participants were given a group activity to impart their knowledge on how they function as a group to contribute to the overall success of the team and the improvement of the service being provided to partners and clients. In this particular assembly, team building activities were also given to the participants in order to develop a team that strategically provides action to solve the given task. This activity aims to hone the whole group to function as one and be able to identify their specific tasks and utilize their strengths and knowledge to minimize errors that might hinder the progress of the program.

DA-PCC’s EASIS Phase 3 project kicks off with T o T

The Extension and Advisory Services Information System (EASIS) project of the DA-PCC through the Knowledge Management Division (KMD) in partnership with the Grameen Foundation Philippines is now on its third phase, which involves rolling out of the developed mobile applications for utilization by extension officers (EO), village-based field veterinarians, and technicians.

The EASIS is a three-phase project of the DA-PCC with Grameen. The latter developed two mobile applications known as the KBGAN iHealth and KBGAN iFeed in consultation with DA-PCC’s technical experts in the fields of animal health and nutrition. These apps aim to ultimately improve the extension and advisory services provided by DA-PCC on enhanced dairy buffalo production and management of small-scale carabao farmers.

In the just-concluded three-day Training of Trainers (TOT) at the DA-PCC national headquarters in the Science City of Muñoz, the participants (carabao-based enterprise development coordinators and LGU partners from the rollout sites) were trained thoroughly on the proper usage of the apps. Said partners in the implementation of the project will soon transfer and introduce the apps to village-based technicians within their areas of coverage.

The phase three of the project has a program summary timeline that started last May and will conclude by January of 2023. It includes orientation and consultation with area partners, enlisting of carabao farmers, baseline survey of farmers, and reporting of the results of the survey. Meanwhile, phases one and two included, among others, the production of learning videos and the development of mobile apps.

During the action planning, the participants pledged their commitment and support to the implementation of the project.

DA-PCC has new career scientist

Dr. Marvin Villanueva, Senior Science Research Specialist and OIC Chief of the Research and Development Division/Chief of the Livestock Biotechnology Center, has joined the DA-PCC’s growing pool of career scientists after he was conferred a Scientist I rank under the Agricultural Sciences Division of the Scientific Career System (SCS) effective May 20, 2022.

The conferment of Dr. Villanueva makes him the 8th active career scientist of the agency.

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) under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the Civil Service Commission.

An Outstanding Young Scientist awardee in 2021, Dr. Villanueva is a graduate of Doctor of Philosophy in Veterinary Medicine at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan with a specialization in Bacterial Zoonotic Diseases.

Dr. Villanueva, together with his team, developed advanced/molecular-based diagnostic tests for sensitive detection of livestock diseases such as interferon-gamma release assay for bovine tuberculosis, and loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) test for bovine leptospirosis. These sensitive and rapid diagnostic tests are currently used in the country for faster disease detection and initiation of treatment and control measures.

In his desire to address immediate problems in the livestock industry particularly in animal health, he is currently collaborating with local and international experts and institutions on the development of autogenous vaccine and pen-side nanosensor-based diagnostic tool, antimicrobial resistance, solidification of biosecurity protocols using smart technologies, and development of rapid diagnostic kits and novel therapeutics against economically imperative diseases in the Philippines.

His recent involvement is the development of KBGAN iHealth mobile app as part of the Extension and Advisory Services Information (EASIS) Project between the DA-PCC and the Grameen Foundation.

Dr. Villanueva’s scientific journey and passion are also heavily influenced by his commitment to work and uphold the mission of his agency, which is to serve the Filipino farmers and promote the improvement of their welfare, particularly those in the livestock sector, in order to create a food-secure, economically sustainable, and safe Philippines.

The DA-PCC recognizes Dr. Villanueva’s accomplishments, specifically in developing technology to prevent and mitigate buffalo diseases. His significant research outputs have been and will continue to be a crucial contribution to the development of the livestock sector.