ALAB Karbawan yields positive outcomes

The Accelerating Livelihood and Assets Buildup (ALAB) Karbawan projects not only offer business opportunities for carapreneurs but also play a crucial role in bolstering the local dairy industry. Recent achievements of the ALAB Karbawan development project across the country, currently spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC), affirm this.

ALAB Karbawan serves as the umbrella program and popularized name for two province-wide Carabao-based Enterprise Development implementation projects: Carabao-based Business Improvement Network (CBIN) and Coconut-Carabao Development Project (CCDP). These initiatives were launched and funded by the Office of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform, chaired by Senator Cynthia Villar.

Initiated in 2019, the program’s primary goal is to establish robust carabao-based enterprises in recipient provinces, thereby generating livelihood opportunities for farmers. Implementation commenced in 2020 across 17 sites nationwide, empowering farmers to raise dairy carabaos. Meanwhile, cooperatives assumed responsibility for milk consolidation and processing.

The introduction of the Dairy Box facilitated the promotion of locally sourced carabao-based products and streamlined milk distribution, particularly in support of school-based feeding programs.

This proactive initiative significantly elevated the income and livelihoods of dairy farmers, prompting Senator Villar to expand funding to cover a total of 81 sites nationwide. This expansion has broadened livelihood opportunities and ensured the availability of nutritious milk for millions of Filipino schoolchildren. Additionally, retort milk facilities were strategically established to guarantee milk accessibility, even in remote regions.

ALAB Karbawan aligns with the government’s core objective of increasing the country’s milk production. To this end, Senator Villar allocated a total budget of PHP795 million for the implementation of CBIN (PHP295M for FY2019 and FY2020; PHP110M for FY2021; PHP250M for FY2022) and CCDP (PHP140M). This budget is being employed to invest in various aspects of the dairy value chain, ranging from buffalo stocks and breeding services to milk collection, processing, and marketing facilities, all managed through the cooperative conduit scheme.

In June 2023, a dairy population survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported a remarkable 10.1% increase in the dairy carabao population, now estimated at 30,151, representing 32.1% of the total 93,930 dairy animals in the country.

The ALAB Karbawan program played a pivotal role in stimulating the growth of the dairy carabao sector. Complemented by other program components such as Genetic Improvement and Dairy Herd Buildup (DHB), this growth is poised to be sustained, making a significant contribution to the country’s economy.

The Dairy Herd Buildup (DHB) project, initially funded in 2023 with a total budget of PHP698 million, focuses on local crossbred buffalo procurement to build the local dairy herd through continuous backcrossing, ultimately producing the Philippine Dairy Buffalo herd. Other components, including infrastructure development, health and feed development, and reproduction services, will also be implemented.

As of the latest updates, dated September 15, 2023:

• 35 cooperatives are actively engaged in the milk feeding program.
• Since its inception in 2019, a total of 36 operational value chains have been established under the ALAB Karbawan project, encompassing all segments of the Carabao-based Enterprise (CBE) value chain, including milk production, processing, and product marketing.
• The CBIN and CCDP projects have entrusted a total of 3,995 buffaloes, with 462 calves born, benefiting 1,800 farmer recipients.
• The number of conduit farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) involved in CBEs has steadily increased since the project’s launch in 2019, with 74 conduit cooperatives and 17 SCFOs (Small Coconut Farmers Organizations) now actively engaged.
• The total volume of milk produced has reached 1,149,664.32 liters.
• A total of 37 processing and marketing infrastructures, branded as Dairy Box, were established, with 36 of them currently operational, and an additional 42 are in the pipeline for construction.

With all these positive outcomes of accelerating livelihood opportunities and building cooperatives assets, the Senate Committee on Agriculture intends to finance the DHB for the next three years to fortify the foundation of the dairy buffalo sector.

DA-PCC and DA-RFO V ink partnership project for the implementation of Carabao Development Program in Bicol

The DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) and the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office Region V (DA-RFO V) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for their joint partnership in conserving, propagating, and promoting the carabao as a source of milk, meat, draft power, and hide to benefit rural farming communities in the Bicol region. This signing took place on September 25, 2023, at Constitution Hills, Quezon City.

The partnership aims to promote agricultural development by providing policy frameworks, public investments, support services for agricultural business enterprises, and technical assistance to livestock clients. The main components of the project include the DA-PCC Bicol Satellite Office and the supplementation of liquid nitrogen within the region. Liquid nitrogen is used to cryopreserve livestock germplasm for genetic improvement and upgrading.

This initiative is funded through the PL480 project, with the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) serving as the fund manager.

The MOA was signed by DA-PCC OIC-Executive Director Dr. Caro B. Salces, DA RFO V Regional Executive Director Rodel Tornilla, witnessed by DA-PCC at UPLB Center Director Dr. Thelma A. Saludes, and DA-RFO V Regional Livestock & Poultry Program Coordinator Dr. Marissa E. Guillermo.

PCAF OIC Executive Director Julieta Opulencia and DA-PCC Deputy Executive Director and PL480 Project Leader Dr. Claro N. Mingala were also in attendance during the signing.

Food safety takes center stage in BizTalk series

The DA-PCC conducts a series of Business Talk on Food Safety for dairy buffalo supply chain players nationwide with a resounding emphasis on “Sa Quality Food Safety ang Priority”, signifying a collective commitment to achieving higher standards of food safety.

The activity aims to enhance the DA-PCC food safety system by imparting essential knowledge to dairy suppliers participating in the milk feeding program about fundamental practices related to dairy safety across production, processing, and marketing.

“We also aim to model the identified smallholder farmers who will be attending this activity in the registration and acquisition of the license to operate from the NDA and FDA as part of the quality assurance of milk from our suppliers,” Dr. Randolph Tolentino, DA-PCC food safety focal person, said.

The training program centers on the enhancement of food safety practices, offering lectures and hands-on exercises that cover a wide range of topics in food safety. It also tackles fundamental principles of food safety, covering areas such as food hazards, safety practices within the dairy buffalo supply chain, good manufacturing practices, and applied 7S in dairy production and processing.

One of the key highlights of the activity is the extensive discussion on milk quality and safety within the dairy buffalo supply chain, along with crucial insights into dairy safety practices, milk testing, environmental sanitation for dairy buffalo enterprises, solid waste management, and wastewater management for farms and milk processing centers.

Food safety refers to the conditions and actions undertaken to maintain the quality of food, thereby preventing contamination and foodborne diseases. The fundamental aim of food safety is to protect consumers from illnesses caused by the consumption of unsafe food. Foodborne diseases pose a significant concern to the food industry, affecting people worldwide due to inadequate food safety measures.

DA-PCC personnel from the Carabao Enterprise Development Section (CEDS) including Patrizia Camille Saturno, Science Research Specialist II; Teresita Baltazar, Science Research Specialist I; Dan Lowie Dacanay, quality assurance specialist; and Dr. Tolentino will serve as the resource persons for the series.

The training program, funded through the PL480 project with the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries as fund manager, and DA-PCC and the National Dairy Authority as implementing agencies, comprised four sessions. The initial session took place in Bacolod from September 11-15 and was attended by 76 DA-PCC-assisted cooperative members from the Visayas region. The second session is scheduled for September 25-29 in North Luzon, while the third and fourth sessions are planned for November in South Luzon and Mindanao, respectively.

The training is facilitated by the DA-PCC through the Monitoring and Business Planning Support Section (MBPSS), headed by Pauline Maramag.
More than 300 participants including dairy farmers, processors, and dairy outlet staff from assisted cooperatives and regional centers are expected to attend the training.

DSWD VI partners with DA-PCC for the 13th cycle of School Feeding Program

The Department of Social Welfare and Development-Regional Field Office VI (DSWD-RFO VI) once again partnered with DA-PCC at West Visayas State University (DA-PCC at WVSU) for the 13th cycle implementation of the Supplementary Feeding Program.

This program, spanning 120 feeding days, began on September 11 and 13, and will continue until the first week of November, implementing a double feeding scheme.

Calinog Farmers Agriculture Cooperative will cater to 1,322 beneficiaries for MSWDO Dumarao, Capiz and is expected to deliver 158,640 pouches of pasteurized milk. Meanwhile, the Hamtic Multi-Purpose Cooperative has taken on the responsibility of serving 1,497 beneficiaries of MSWDO Sibalom in Antique, with a commitment to provide 179,640 bottles of pasteurized milk.

Janice H. Cuaresma, CBED Coordinator of DA-PCC at WVSU, expressed her heartfelt appreciation to DSWD VI for their unwavering partnership that has been in place since the 10th cycle of the program. She emphasized the importance of DSWD’s consistent commitment to utilizing local products in the program’s implementation.

“DSWD has been our steadfast partner since we initiated the Supplementary Feeding Program here in Panay Island. This feeding initiative will undoubtedly contribute to the growth and development of our daycare pupils in the identified municipalities,” she said.

Cuaresma added, “It is our joy that our local dairy farmers also benefit from this program. It gives them consistent opportunities as well as increases their families’ income. As the CBED Coordinator, I am further motivated to progressively develop locally produced milk in each project area, ensuring a steady supply for the Milk Feeding Program, funded by our partner agencies.”

Meanwhile, MSWDO Valderrama, Antique, is set to receive its milk supply on September 25, benefiting 718 beneficiaries. The Pandan Multi-Purpose Cooperative, a recipient under the Carabao-based Business Inmprovement Network(CBIN) project, is expected to deliver 86,160 bottles throughout the implementation phase.

Since the implementation of the 10th cycle in January 2021, DA-PCC at WVSU and its assisted co-ops have made a significant impact by serving a total of 12,562 beneficiaries. Their outreach has extended to the lone district of Iloilo City and various municipalities in Iloilo province, including Bingawan, Batad, Barotac Viejo, Banate, and Balasan. Furthermore, the program has also reached the Province of Antique, specifically benefiting the municipalities of Bugasong, Tobias Fornier, Barbaza, and Sebaste.

RIC women members undergo hygienic milk handling, product processing training

The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at Central Luzon State University (DA-PCC at CLSU) concludes a two-day training on hygienic milk handling and product processing for 23 female members of the Municipal Federation of Rural Improvements Club (MFRIC) in Brgy. Macapilapil, San Ildefonso, Bulacan on September 11-12.

The requested training is a livelihood initiative of DA Rural-Based Organization (RBO) for hands-on training in the production of kesong puti, chocolate milk, pastillas, and pasteurized milk. Participants are association representatives from a number of Brgy. of San Ildefonso Bulacan.

Kaycelyn Vasallo, the RIC Focal Person, explains that the livelihood initiative provides financial assistance to RIC women members. Following training, the LGU will provide the federation with a livelihood startup package by establishing a Dairy Processing and Marketing Outlet in the city.
Vasallo also expresses the intention of establishing connections with the City’s pasalubong center and inviting other Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to participate in this endeavor. To obtain greater support, the LGU intends to promote these buffalo-based products to the Department of Tourism.

Vasallo added that after the training and successful product processing, RIC will soon begin connecting with DA-PCC carabao recipients in the city. The objective is to purchase the produced milk, which will also secure a market for dairy farmers to sell their milk.

Mayor of San Ildefonso City, Hon. Fernando S. Galvez Jr., asserts that with these initiatives, the city will give its complete support to the livelihood project for women that demonstrates Gender and Development in the city.
The RIC of the Philippines is a non-governmental organization that operates to enhance the living circumstances of its members and to make them effective and productive partners of the government in the community.

Empowering Dairy Farmers: The Inauguration of Carigara’s Dairy Box

The Coconut-Carabao Development Project (CCDP) in Carigara has initiated its first Dairy Box, following the groundbreaking ceremony held on September 06, 2023, at Barangay Abango, Barugo, Leyte.

The Dairy Box is a one-stop-shop for carabao-based products, conceived by the Business Development and Commercialization Unit (BDCU) of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC). Essentially, it serves as infrastructure support for small-scale dairy buffalo farmers, offering them opportunities like access to the commercial market to increase their incomes.

During the opening program, Ms. Lourdes Grabador, CCDP Focal Person from Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) RO8, acknowledged and welcomed all the guests and visitors. Engr. Josefina J. Josol, Municipal Agriculturist of Carigara, Leyte, delivered the Welcome Remarks, highlighting that they were not just breaking the ground but building their dreams.

Dr. Ivy Fe M. Lopez, CCDP Focal Person (PCC VSU), elaborated further on the project’s objectives, aiming to strengthen the country’s local dairy production and reduce reliance on imports. She emphasized that “sa dairy, ang income ay daily.”

Mayor Eduardo T. Ong Jr. of Carigara, Leyte, shared an Inspirational Message, expressing gratitude to the DA-PCC, PCA, and other partner agencies for initiating the Dairy Box Groundbreaking Ceremony. He added that “pastillas and sundang are the main local products of Carigara, and I am thankful because we no longer need suppliers from other municipalities for carabao’s milk; we can now also supply milk to other areas. This is an additional livelihood opportunity for our farmers.”

Senator Cynthia A. Villar, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform, conveyed her Inspirational Message via video. She emphasized the facility’s importance in improving the country’s dairy production, stating, “Mahalaga ang mga ganitong mga gawain para mapalaganap ang paggagatas sa ating bansa dahil sa ating malaking kakulangan ng gatas sa bansa. Kailangan natin mapaganda ang ating dairy production.”

The recipients and guests were further motivated by Emelda G. Sievert, Provincial Agriculturist of Leyte, and Engr. Joel O. Pilapil, Regional Manager of PCA Region 8. Engr. Pilapil remarked, “this is a God’s given project for Carigara.”

The program continued with the Laying Down of the Capsule by Mayor Eduardo T. Ong Jr., Engr. Joel O. Pilapil, Engr. Josefina J. Josol, Emelda G. Sievert, Herminia N. Carolino, and Minerva O. Langco. Herminia N. Carolino, Chairperson of Kangara Multi-Purpose Cooperative, responded to this gesture. This was followed by the Milk Toss by the participants.
The program concluded with the closing remarks of Minerva O. Langco, PCDM Leyte, who expressed her appreciation and gratitude to all the agencies that participated in the successful Dairy Box Groundbreaking Ceremony.

DA-PCC concludes 2023 In-House Review

The DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) maintains its position as a premier research institution by successfully concluding the Agency In-House Review of ongoing and completed research studies held at the DA-PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, from September 6 to 9, 2023.

Organized by the Research and Development Division (RDD), this annual event aims to review and evaluate research studies conducted by various divisions and regional centers.

Dr. Caro B. Salces, OIC Executive Director of DA-PCC, emphasized the vital role of research in the agency’s evolution over the past 30 years. He pointed out the impact on the value chain that has economically benefited dairy farmers. Dr. Salces also encouraged current researchers to continue strengthening research collaborations to further enhance the country’s milk sufficiency.

A total of 35 ongoing and completed studies were presented and reviewed by a panel of experts, including Dr. Elfren Celestino of Central Luzon State University, Dr. Jaime Manalo IV of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Dr. Ronnie Domingo (former OIC Executive Director of DA-PCC), Dr. Joice San Andres, Dr. Joseph Dela Cruz, and Mr. Michael Angelo Esteban from the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

These papers were categorized under four thematic areas: Genetic Improvement-Animal Genomics or Genetic Diversity and Cryopreservation, Biosafety Production Systems and Nutrition, and Socio-Economic Dimensions of Carabao Development Program Implementation.

The criteria for judging the “Best Presenter” included clarity, logic, quality of presentation, response to questions, and timeliness. In contrast, the “Best Paper” was chosen based on Introduction and Literature Review, Methodology, Results Discussions, Conclusion, Delivery, and Ways Forward and Plans.

Two studies were recognized as winners in the “Best Biotech Papers” category: Dr. Ester B. Flores was acknowledged for her study titled, “Development of real-time ultrasound scanning and DNA marker selection protocols for meat, carcass, and fertility traits of Philippine native pigs: Sub-study: Genetic parameters and significant gene markers for fertility and growth traits of Philippine native pigs from two herds in South Luzon,” and Maureen Gajeton was recognized for her study, “Development of a multiplex panel of microsatellite markers for routine parentage testing in buffalo and cattle.
Dr. Flores was also named this year’s “Best Presenter.”

On the other hand, Dr. Randolph Tolentino received the “Best Development Paper” citation for his study titled, “Epidemiological Analysis of Tuberculosis, Brucellosis, and Leptospirosis in Water Buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) of Dairy Cooperatives in Nueva Ecija, Philippines.”

Furthermore, Zeshalyn Fajardo earned the “Best Thesis” award for her study titled, “The Relationship of Follicle Size and Oestrous Manifestation with Pregnancy Rate in Water Buffaloes under Two Fixed Time Artificial Insemination Protocols.”

‘Eskwelahan sa Kahanginan’ on dairy buffalo prod’n airs in Cebu

Schooling on dairy buffalo production is set to air on the radio at Cebu Technological University’s (CTU) Tuburan campus following a tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed on August 29.

This MOA between the DA-PCC at Ubay Stock Farm (DA-PCC at USF), CTU, and First Consolidated Cooperative Along Tañon Seaboards (FCCT) outlines the launch of “Eskwelahan sa Kahanginan (School-On-Air)-A Radio Broadcast on Dairy Buffalo Production,” aimed at addressing challenges faced by farmers in Tuburan, Cebu, and neighboring areas, such as the lack of quality forage, breeding knowledge, and dairy production expertise.

Engr. Naomi Bajao, Project Leader Proponent of CTU-Tuburan, explained that the radio program is part of the university’s community extension projects, with the First Consolidated Cooperative Along Tañon Seaboards (FCCT) as the target beneficiaries and technical support provided by the DA-PCC at USF.

Gaudioso Calibugan, the Senior Agriculturist of DA-PCC at USF, emphasized the importance of this partnership in spreading awareness about carabao dairying.

Recognizing the significance of collaboration, Magdaleno Bargamento, the CEO of FCCT, stressed the need for various individuals and professions to support farmers, be it through financial assistance, technology, or expertise.

Carla Y. Abaquita, the campus director of CTU-Tuburan, expressed her delight at the program’s launch, emphasizing the importance of sharing education and technology with farmers, which an important extension program of the university.

The campus has its FM radio station called “Bulawanong Tinubdan” or BT at 98.1 MHz affiliated with the Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS), serving as an avenue for information dissemination and technology transfer.

In January 2021, the university launched the CTU & BT Radio Extension and Technology Transfer (BEATT) program, which serves as its information and technology dissemination arm.

Prof. Devonna Celedonio, chairperson of the university’s extension services, the initiative aims to bridge the gap between technologies developed and their actual application in the field.

Engr. Bajao, the main host of CTU BEATT radio show, said the “Eskwelahan sa Kahanginan” will air every Tuesday from 5:00-6:00 PM, consisting of 16 episodes starting on September 5, 2023. Attendance will be taken, and quizzes will be given during the broadcasts.

Dr. Maria Dinah Loculan, Center Director of DA-PCC at USF, challenged the town to develop a unique product from the carabao’s milk, leveraging the university’s research and development efforts.

Mardonio Benting, the chairperson of FCCT, expressed gratitude for the opportunity and support and wished for the project’s success.

The local government unit (LGU) of Tuburan, represented by Engr. Rowena Bernia, the municipal registrar, pledged full support, aligning with their goal of achieving food sustainability.

In addition to the MOA signing, FCCT and DA-PCC at USF provided a 32″ television and 20 radio receiver sets to CTU-Tuburan. Following the program’s launch, a live on-air interview hosted by Engr. Bajao and April Jean Edillon was conducted with key figures, further highlighting the importance of this initiative.

AI technicians, LGUs in CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol regions commit to intensified carabao upgrading

The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at UP Los Baños (DA-PCC at UPLB) conducts an In-House Basic Training Course on Artificial Insemination (AI) and Pregnancy Diagnosis (PD) in Large Ruminants last August 28 at Obdulia Sison Hall, UPLB.

Said training is one of the banner programs under the Genetic Improvement Program (GIP) of DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) that aims to develop and equip partners from CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and Bicol regions to increase the population of high quality carabao breeds and increase milk production as additional income for farmers.

“The training will equip you with all the knowledge, wisdom, and skills that you will be needing as you render services to farmers. You will be the partners of DA-PCC at UPLB in the field,” DA-PCC at UPLB Center Director Dr. Thelma Saludes said in her welcome remarks.

In addition, DA-PCC at UPLB Carabao-based Enterprise Development (CBED) coordinator Anna Reylene Montes, inspired the trainees undergoing the program with her message, “You will be the bearers of hope after this training. You will not only be bringing hope to the undernourished children but also to the whole nation.”

On the other hand, DA-PCC at UPLB CBED coordinator Engr. Jose Canaria reminded the trainees of the importance of learning the module to heart for the purpose of serving the farmers better. This will be another source of income for the AI technicians, he said.

The trainees are expected to learn reproduction management, artificial insemination, and pregnancy diagnosis. Another aspect of the program is the hands-on practical training of the trainees in the field. The trainees are expected to complete the program in September 2023. The DA-PCC at UPLB training team is composed of Dr. Jessica Gay Ortiz (AI and BL coordinator), Ariel De Chavez (AI technician), Pinky Bril (research assistant), Danica Cervantes (encoder) and Jeremie Marinella Ledesma (Information and Communication Officer).