The special role of the carabao in improving the lives of many farming families was accentuated in a series of plenary sessions during the Philippine Carabao Center’s (PCC) 5th National Carabao Conference (NCC) held last November 14-15 at the Central Mindanao University (CMU) Convention Center in Maramag, Bukidnon.
The impact of this important animal on the lives of farmers was substantiated by CMU President Dr. Jesus Antonio Derije in his keynote message. He said the carabao is a productive animal that contributes not only in farm works by way of its draft power but also as a profitable commodity in a business venture via its milk, meat, and other by-products such as hide and manure.
He even quoted and attested the article written by the late PCC’s editorial consultant Dr. Anselmo Roque about the carabao dairying being a booming industry. He said the carabao offers a lot of opportunities since myriads of products, such as dairy products and carabeef, can be derived from it, which command high market price and demand due to its nutritional value and good quality.
The confab, hosted by the PCC@CMU under the leadership of Dr. Lowell Paraguas and co-hosted by CMU, revolved around the theme “Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita sa Pagkakalabawan”, in support of the Department of Agriculture’s vision of a food-secure country with prosperous farmers and fisherfolks.
It aimed to gather participants, trustees, and all those who are benefitting from the dairy carabao-based industry. It served as a venue for meaningful interaction among the participants and a source of significant information, ideas, and good practices for sharing and disseminating, which is expected to inspire more to participate in the Carabao Development Program (CDP).
PCC Executive Director Dr. Arnel del Barrio gave updates on CDP, its humble beginnings, how it flourished, and how it continues to help uplift the lives of farmers.
“What we want is for farmers to have profitable and viable enterprises to achieve more abundant harvest and higher income. Eventually, these enterprises will bring forth sustainable livelihood to the farmers and Filipinos in general,” he emphasized.
Rowena Bumanlag, PCC’s Applied Communication Section Head and 5th NCC overall chairperson, considered CDP as an integrated and diversified program.
“PCC’s program is no island. It only means that carabao can be integrated in the present farming systems and its contribution is fundamental,” she said.
The participants of this learning event were provided with insights on PCC’s unrelenting efforts and initiatives to promote the carabao industry; PCC’s partnerships with the local government units in CDP implementation; and government-funded activities through the following plenary sessions: Convergence for the Milk Feeding Program, Technology and Innovation Forum, Scaling up the Carabao-based Enterprise Value Chain, and Strengthening the Provincial Livestock Extension System.
The two-day event, which featured plenary sessions pertaining to the “new thinking” in dairy management and carabao industry in general, aimed at contributing towards more abundant harvest and higher income among farmers.
Specifically, it involved topics and discussions on “Milk Feeding Program” by Ms. Laraine Villaver of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Myra Yee of the Department of Education Region X; best practices on “Artificial Insemination (AI) and Breeding” by Dr. Edwin Atabay, PCC’s Scientist I; “Forage Production and Animal Feeding” by Dr. Daniel Aquino, PCC@Central Luzon State University’s center director; and “Animal Health and Management” by Dr. Virgilio Lopez, PCC@University of Southern Mindanao’s Farm Superintendent II; “Barangay Livestock Aide” by Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz, Bohol Provincial Veterinarian; and “Farmer Livestock School and School on the Air on Dairy Buffalo Production: Platforms for Increased Technology Adoption” by Dr. Eric Palacpac, PCC’s Knowledge Management Division Chief.
Meanwhile, Elena Limocon, General Manager of Lamac Multipurpose Cooperative; Nida Abellanosa of Don Carlos Bukidnon; and Francisco Alex Dani Pasion of Ilocos Sur shared their exemplary testimonies on how the dairy carabao-based business has empowered them to have a sustainable livelihood through the topics “Leading a Robust Carabao-based Value Chain”, Mainstreaming the Farmers’ Cause”, and “Privatizing Artificial Insemination Service Provision”, respectively.
Apart from the plenary sessions, a convergence meeting of dairy cooperatives was also conducted to strategize the plan on how to meet the increasing demand for milk due to the national feeding program.
“Organization and partnership are two key strategic elements to increase dairy farmers’ income and provide milk for children. To achieve this, we need to build the capacity of the co-ops to manage the dairy value chain. Our goal is to reduce importation of milk by increasing local supply through a cooperative-supported dairy industry,” Cresente Paez, Program Director of the Asian Farmers’ Association Cooperative Development, explained.
The 5th NCC also featured Knowledge Exhibition, technology demonstration, launching of PCC@CMU’s Bull Barn, Semen Processing Laboratory and ‘Bukidnon Dairy’ Processing and Marketing Outlet, ceremonial awarding of dairy buffaloes to conduit cooperatives under the Accelerating Livelihood and Assets Buildup (ALAB) Karbawan project, Knowledge Café, and milk toast with elementary schoolchildren and PCC’s mascots Kalaboy and Kalagirl.
Some 600 carabao keepers, dairy farmers, partners, entrepreneurs, local government officials and representatives from various government agencies and private organizations gathered in the two-day event.