N.E. farmers train on basic buffalo management

Fifteen carabao farmers from Bongabon, Nueva Ecija were capacitated in various aspects of buffalo management after a three-day training held at the Bongabon Session Hall from April 23-25.

The training kicked off with an introduction to breeds, breeding, and reproduction management discussed by Genaro Candelaria, project development officer of National Dairy Business Hub (NDBH). Candelaria emphasized the significance of proper management to ensure profitability from carabaos.

“We have to get our process and management right, so our carabao gives us the profit we expect,” he stated.

Milton Joseph Tamayo, project assistant of NDBH, discussed proper housing and waste management for carabaos, and the importance of comfort for the animals. He advised that carabao pens be oriented from east to west to shield them from direct sunlight.

Dr. Francisca Loida Cabana, municipal veterinarian of LGU Bongabon, highlighted the local government initiatives aimed at addressing the needs of farmers, urging them to seek assistance without hesitation. She also recognized the participation of women farmers in the training, who play significant roles in various aspects of the carabao value chain.

“We are delighted to see the active involvement of women in our training. Their contributions, spanning from management to marketing of the carabao and its by-products, are crucial to the success of our industry,” she said.

The training also included discussions on forage production, management and conservation, nutrition and feeding management, animal health management, proper milking and milk handling, herd management, and dairy safety regulation.

Participants expressed their gratitude and enthusiasm for the knowledge gained. Teresita Abrazaldo from the Olivete Association commended the quality of the training, saying that it’s different from any training she attended before.

“We appreciate the encouragement from the training team. Their commitment goes beyond the training and demonstrates the agency’s willingness to invest in us as beneficiaries of its program,” she shared.
Nomerlito Sales, another participant, expressed his hope for future training opportunities.

“We hope to participate in more learning events conducted by DA-PCC in the future. It did help me appreciate the role of carabao as more than just draft power but as a sustainable livelihood,” he said.

The training, conducted by the DA-PCC through the NDBH, not only equipped local farmers with necessary skills but also strengthened community ties and support networks within the agricultural sector in Bongabon.

Cotabato Province to boost cara-indusry, models sustainable carapreneurship in Central Mindanao

The Cotabato Provincial Ordinance No. 684, also known as the Enhanced Carabao Propagation and Promotion Ordinance, has been enacted to bolster the local agricultural sector and uplift the livelihood of farmers.

This legislation aims to revitalize carabao farming, enhance productivity, and foster sustainable practices focusing on the preservation and promotion of carabao farming as a foundation of rural livelihood.

“At its core, the ordinance seeks to achieve multiple objectives, each designed to promote carabao farming and its associated industries. The implementation of this ordinance would lead to greater good of the cara-industry in the province,” DA-PCC at University of Southern Mindanao (DA-PCC at USM) Center Director Geoffray R. Atok said.

Director Atok also expressed his gratitude to the provincial government of Cotabato led by Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza who recognizes the crucial role of carabaos in agriculture. The ordinance prioritizes efforts to boost carabao population and productivity which will result in the resurgence in the number of carabaos across Cotabato Province.

In addition, the ordinance encourages the development of backyard dairy farming through carabao raising. By producing milk locally, smallholder farmers can meet the nutritional needs of their families while simultaneously reducing reliance on imported dairy products. This not only supports local farmers but also contributes to the economic sustainability of Cotabato by keeping revenue within the community.

Central to the ordinance is the institution of measures aimed at ensuring the full protection of carabaos, particularly breedable animals. Regulations on slaughter and transportation are put in place to safeguard the breeding stock and prevent depletion of the carabao population, ensuring its long-term sustainability.

The implementation of the Enhanced Carabao Propagation and Promotion Ordinance marks a transformative phase of agricultural advancement in Cotabato Province. This legislation not only promotes sustainable farming methods but also empowers farmers and ensures the well-being of carabaos. It sets an example for rural development and economic resilience in the entire region.

DSWD-SLP teams up with DA-PCC at DMMMSU for dairy buffalo production, management training

The Department of Social Welfare and Development-Sustainable Livelihood Program (DSWD-SLP) tapped the DA-Philippine Carabao Center at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DA-PCC at DMMMSU) to capacitate and equip 30 new SLP beneficiaries in dairy buffalo production and management for its Gatasang Kalabaw Kontra Kagutoman at Kahirapan (GK3K) project on April 24-26, 2024, at the Convergence Site, San Andres, Balungao, Pangasinan.

The GK3K project is a Program Convergence Budgeting (PCB)-Zero Hunger initiative of DSWD-SLP in collaboration with DA-PCC, other national government agencies, and select local government units in Region 1. Its goal is to empower disadvantaged communities by establishing sustainable income streams through carabao-based enterprises.

Furthermore, the project aligns with the interagency task force on Zero Hunger’s goal of reducing the country’s hunger and poverty rates.

The Carabao Development Program (CDP) and Gender and Development were introduced to the participants with lectures on animal breeding and management, hygienic milk handling, feeds, feeding management, conservation and utilization, animal health, and record keeping.

On the last day of the training, participants were exposed to making enhanced rice straws (e-RS).

According to Paul Andrew Texon, operations head of DA-PCC at DMMMSU, the center expects beneficiaries to be inspired, determined, and prepared for the challenges they will face to succeed on the project after receiving technical training in dairy buffalo production.

Last year, on June 13-15, the same training was provided to 30 beneficiaries from two of Balungao’s 12 SLP associations. This year, another 30 select beneficiaries from the remaining 10 SLP associations completed the aforementioned training.

Priscila Cañaveral, president of the Mabuhay Esmeralda Sustainable Livelihood Program Association, expressed enthusiasm about raising carabaos. She mentioned that the training helped them realize that focus, diligence, perseverance, and unity are crucial factors for a successful carabao venture.

Texon also mentioned that DA-PCC will continuously provide support and services throughout their journey.

“Ang intervention ng DA-PCC ay hindi lang natatapos doon sa delivery of animals o ‘yong dairy production management training, kapag ginagatasan na ang mga kalabaw, magkakaroon din tayo ng pa-training sa dairy processing and enterprise development,” he said.

The GK3K project is the biggest convergence project nationwide to date.

APRACA CENTRAB commends DA-PCC for its contributions to agri-value chain dev’t

The DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) recently received an appreciation certificate in recognition of its outstanding contributions to Agricultural Value Chain Development.

The certificate was presented to Dr. Liza Battad, Executive Director of DA-PCC, during the visit of delegates from the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association Center for Training and Research in Agricultural Banking (APRACA CENTRAB) to the DA-PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool today, April 25.

The commendation comes as part of the ongoing four-day tour titled “International Exposure Visit Program on Initiatives towards Enhancing Agricultural Value Chain Finance,” organized by APRACA CENTRAB under the guidance of Managing Editor Lecira Juarez.

The visit aimed to facilitate knowledge sharing and the exchange of best practices.

Dr. Battad provided an overview of DA-PCC’s programs and mandate designed to promote agricultural value chain development, particularly the carabao value chain. She emphasized the significant support extended by the agency to small-scale farmers, which underscores its important role in sustainable agricultural development.

Discussions during the visit involved potential collaborations and teaming up for investment between DA-PCC and APRACA CENTRAB, especially in improving farming businesses. They highlighted how partnerships are crucial for making agricultural systems better.

The visit was attended by eight senior officers representing APRACA Member Institutions, including entities such as the Agricultural and Rural Development Bank-Cambodia, The Andhra Pradesh State Cooperative Bank Ltd-India, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)-India, and Bank of Ceylon-Sri Lanka, alongside four members of the APRACA CENTRAB Secretariat.

APRACA CENTRAB is an international organization comprising central banks, agricultural banks, development banks, commercial banks, apex organizations, rural development institutions, and non-governmental entities in the Asia-Pacific region focused on agricultural credit and rural development. Its mission closely aligns with the objectives of DA-PCC, as both entities work towards fostering sustainable agricultural growth and development.

ARBs group supplies carabao’s milk for DepEd’s School Feeding Program in Davao Oriental

The Kalaparan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, an assisted farmer group of DA-PCC at University of Southern Mindanao (DA-PCC at USM) in the City of Mati, has been identified as the primary supplier of carabao’s milk for over 7,500 students of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) School-based Feeding Program in Davao Oriental.

This partnership represents a major step towards integrating socioeconomic development with educational programs. Local farmers, who were previously landless, are now directly contributing to the welfare of schoolchildren in their community.

Geoffray Atok, center director of DA-PCC at USM, commended the strategy of empowering agrarian reform beneficiaries to address malnutrition among schoolchildren. He stated that this approach not only supports local farmers but also guarantees the provision of nutritious and locally sourced food to students.

The partnership between the KARBENA and DepEd is not only about providing milk; it symbolizes a broader effort to foster self-reliance and community resilience. By leveraging the resources within their community, the association members contribute to the sustainability of both their livelihoods and the school feeding program.

“This initiative exemplifies the potential of community-led solutions to address pressing social issues,” Director Atok said. “By harnessing the expertise and resources of local farmers, we can create a more inclusive and sustainable food system that benefits everyone,” he added.

The integration of carabao’s milk supplied by agrarian reform beneficiaries into the school feeding program underscores the importance of collaboration among government agencies, civil society, and grassroots organizations in achieving social change.

1st Kalabaw Food Festival features Asingan co-op’s ‘nuang-derful’ journey

A farmers’ group in Asingan, Pangasinan with a starting capital of PHP10,000 managed to evolve into a thriving multimillion-peso co-op by venturing into carabao-based enterprises.

This is the “nuang-derful (a portmanteau of the words nuang or carabao and wonderful” transformation story of the Bantog Samahang Nayon Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BSNMPC), an assisted co-op of the DA-PCC at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DA-PCC at DMMMSU).

The BSNMPC’s transformative journey in the carabao industry was highlighted during the 1st Kalabaw Food Festival held on April 19-21 at the co-op’s newly established milk processing center and warehouse grounds.

The festival kicked off with a motorcade parade, showcasing the cooperative’s achievements. The event aimed to inspire the local community to embrace carabao production as a means to improve their livelihoods.

Established in 1973, the BSNMPC, formerly known as the Samahang Nayon Association, has faced numerous challenges over the years. However, the resilience and determination of its members have catapulted it into becoming a renowned cooperative in Pangasinan.

Fermin Jamias, one of the oldest members of the co-op, recounted their journey and mentioned their shift from an unsuccessful cattle venture to embracing carabao production. This transition was spurred by former DA-PCC at DMMMSU Center Director Gloria Dela Cruz, who, inspired by the late Senator Leticia Ramos Shahani’s challenge, encouraged them to venture into carabao production for the betterment of Asingan municipality.

From humble beginnings with a PHP10,000 capital, BSNMPC now boasts assets exceeding PHP100 million—a testament to their growth and success in the industry.

The festival’s highlights on the first day included the inauguration of the co-op’s new milk processing center and warehouse and a series of events such as a carabao dress-up competition, which showcases creatively styled animals, and a carabeef cooking contest, where the carabeef pastil emerged as a winning dish.

Rolly Mateo Sr., BSNMPC’s chairperson, expressed gratitude for the support of partner agencies, including the LGU of Asingan, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), DA-PCC, and Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), among others.

DA-PCC at DMMMSU Center Director Vilma Gagni reminisced about the cooperative’s history in carabao production. She noted that the original 25 headstocks were procured through Senator Ramon Magsaysay’s initiative, funded by the Department of Science and Technology on March 26, 2005.

Gagni acknowledged key contributors to the co-op’s success, including Senator Shahani, Secretary of Agrarian Reform Conrado Estrella III, Senator Cynthia Villar, and several government agencies such as the LGU of Asingan, CDA, DSWD, and DepEd.

Rowena Galang, OIC Chief of the DA-PCC Knowledge Management Division, emphasized the co-op’s achievements through strategic investments in facilities like the new milk processing center and warehouse.

Mateo, overwhelmed by the festival’s success, expressed joy in showcasing the significance of carabao’s milk.

“Napakasaya dahil dito namin naipakita ‘yong kahalagahan ng gatasang kalabaw kung saan marami na ang na-iinspire mag-alaga nito at naipaabot din namin ang pasasalamat sa mga katuwang naming iba’t ibang ahensya ng gobyerno,” he said.

The second day of the festival underscored the importance of milk with activities such as milk feeding, where attendees, particularly children, enjoyed chocolate milk and Karabuns. Mateo was delighted to see the children’s happy faces, hopeful that these experiences would influence them to become future role models.

Additional events on the second day included a nuang parade, a drum and lyre exhibition, a Zumba dance contest, and a raffle with a grand prize of a carabao, all aimed at promoting the cultural significance of carabaos in community development.

On the final day, the cooperative held a general assembly where newly elected officers were sworn in by CDA Representative Mylene Mazo. The meeting also covered discussions on project updates and plans for 2024.
The evening’s festivities wrapped up with dinner, singing, and a best dressed competition.

First Pinaggagatas Festival celebrates dairy industry dev’t, community unity in San Agustin, Isabela

The first-ever “Pinaggagatas Festival” held in Barangay Sinaoangan Sur, San Agustin Isabela highlighted the role of carabao’s milk in supporting livelihoods and community development.

Organized by the Barangay Sinaoangan Sur government in partnership with the Local Government of San Agustin and the DA-PCC at Cagayan State University (DA-PCC at CSU), the festival attracted participants and spectators from various parts of the region.

Barangay Sinaoangan Sur, known for being the key contributor of the town’s dairy industry boasting the highest number of crossbred buffaloes, played a crucial part in realizing San Agustin’s vision of becoming the Crossbred Capital of the Philippines.

With the theme “Pinaggatas ti Nuang: Maysa a Pagkakitaan ken Pagnam-ayan para iti Narangrang-ay a Masakbayan,” the festival showcased not only the town’s rich culture but also the economic importance of the local dairy buffalo industry. It also emphasized the important role of such events in promoting tourism, preserving cultural heritage, and driving economic advancement in the community.

Dr. Rovina Piñera, OIC-Center Director of DA-PCC at CSU, emphasized the collaborative efforts between DA-PCC and San Agustin Municipality in advancing the dairy buffalo industry. Mayor Cesar Mondala and 4th District Representative Joseph Salvador Tan were among the distinguished guests who graced the event, which took place on April 18, 2024.

Mayor Mondala commended the importance of carabao dairying as an alternative source of income, particularly during times of fluctuating crop prices.

“Ang paggagatas dito sa Sinaoangan ay napakainam na oportunidad upang kumita, lalo na ngayong mababa ang presyo ng mais,” he stated.
Aside from cultural displays and exhibits, the festival highlighted the nutritional benefits of fresh carabao’s milk in combating malnutrition. Children present during the festival were each given fresh carabao’s milk.

The Pinaggagatas Festival not only celebrated the gains of the dairy industry but also showcased the resilience and unity of San Agustin’s community in embracing sustainable livelihoods and cultural pride.

Bongabon farmers geared up for carabao farming venture

Twenty farmers from the Olivete Association and Ariendo Dairy Association underwent a Social Preparation Training to ensure that they will be socially prepared to venture into dairy buffalo management and production.

The training, conducted by the DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) through the Socioeconomic and Environmental Research Section (SEERS) and the National Dairy Business Hub (NDBH), in collaboration with the Local Government of Bongabon, took place on April 18, 2024, at Bongabon Municipal Hall, Bongabon, Nueva Ecija.

Bongabon Sangguniang Bayan member and chairperson of the agriculture committee Lope Valmonte conveyed gratitude to DA-PCC and the participating cooperatives for their support and commitment to the initiative.

“Carabao’s milk plays a vital role in the communities of Bongabon, and we value this partnership with DA-PCC. We hope that the knowledge gained by our participants today will be put into practice,” Valmonte said.

Estella Valiente, head of SEERS, who also served as the speaker, discussed topics on carabao-based enterprises and factors influencing their successful implementation. She emphasized the significance of having a vision when venturing into the carabao business.

“Our vision serves as a map for our goals. It’s not enough that we’re just eager; we have to deepen our understanding,” Valiente said.

Dr. Clarissa Odsigue, NDBH Research Specialist, gave a lecture on the potential challenges in carabao farming. She emphasized the significance of providing appropriate treatment and feeding to the carabaos. She also pointed out that improper management could lead to financial burdens for farmers.

“We should be paying attention to what we give to our carabaos, from their shelter down to the water we provide,” shared Dr. Odsigue.

She noted that if the water is safe enough for people to drink, it should be the standard for what we give to carabaos.

Victorias City advances local dairy prod’n with carabao communal pen launch

Victorias City in Negros Occidental is making headway in boosting its local dairy industry through the inauguration of a PHP7-million communal pen for dairy carabaos on April 18, 2024.

The Local Government Unit (LGU) of Victorias led the initiative and funded the construction of this sustainable and eco-friendly carabao pen as part of the Carabao-Based Business Improvement Network (CBIN) Project. This project is a collaborative effort between the DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) and the Office of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform, chaired by Senator Cynthia Villar.

The newly launched carabao dairy farm houses a total of 63 crossbred carabaos and will be managed by the San Antonio Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SAFMPC).

Located at Hacienda San Antonio in Barangay 14, Victorias City, the carabao pen serves as a designated facility for SAFMPC’s animals and livestock raisers. Its primary goal is to maximize potential and minimize losses in the local farming sector.

Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez expressed optimism about the project. He stated that the carabao pen shows the city’s commitment to improving livestock management and agricultural practices. The project, he said, will benefit local farmers and provide them with the necessary resources.

Dr. Caro Salces, DA-PCC Deputy Executive Director, emphasized the collective effort needed to support local farmers and promote economic growth.

“Let us reaffirm our commitment to supporting our local farmers, empowering our rural communities, and fostering economic prosperity. Together, we can cultivate a brighter future for Victorias City and pave the way for a thriving dairy sector in the region,” Dr. Salces remarked.

Said project was specifically spearheaded by Victorias City Veterinary Office led by OIC Allen Joy G. Panes, RMT, and was initiated by former City Veterinarian Dr. John Michael Cabuguason.

The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Vice Mayor Abelardo Bantug III, DA-PCC at La Carlota Stock Farm Center Director Eva Alvarez, Board Member Richard Julius Sablan, city councilors, barangay leaders, department heads, employees from DA and DA-PCC, and members of SAFMPC, headed by chairperson Rey Barreto.