AI soldiers accept challenge of enhancing reproductive efficiency of water buffaloes

Fifteen selected artificial insemination (AI) technicians from different regions of Luzon recently gathered to acknowledge their active participation in a comprehensive training program. This training included both theoretical lectures and practical assessments.

Preserving genetic diversity in water buffalo-endemic regions is crucial for the long-term and sustainable enhancement of buffalo genetics. As part of the Genetic Improvement Program (GIP) by the Department of Agriculture–Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC), AI technicians from various local government units (LGUs) and village-based artificial insemination technicians (VBAITs) across the Philippines have consistently provided an increasing number of annual AI services for water buffaloes.

From September 18 to October 7, 2023, the DA-PCC at Central Luzon State University (DA-PCC at CLSU) successfully conducted a 20-day training program titled “Intensified Reproductive Management Program Towards Improving Reproductive Efficiency in Water Buffaloes” at DA-PCC National Bull Farm (NBF) in Digdig (Joson), Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.

Dr. Edwin C. Atabay, National AI Coordinator, emphasized a Triple “E” strategy: enhancing pregnancy rate, implementing an effective rebreeding program, and early detection of pregnancy. He outlined that the program’s primary objective is to improve the pregnancy rate of the country’s water buffaloes, aligning with the agency’s responsibility to propagate and protect the species.

During one of his lectures and demonstrations, Erwin C. Encarnacion expressed, “The challenge begins when we are trained as technicians, and the program’s success continues when we enhance reproductive efficiency and bolster the buffalo population in the country.”

Hernando V. Venturina, often referred to as the father of AI at the DA-PCC, who formerly headed the NBF, shared that despite his retirement, he remains steadfast in offering continuous support to the program. He encouraged AI technicians to collaborate in achieving the agency’s mission, vision, and mandate.

One of the participants, Dante A. Esalan from PVO Laguna, reflected on his experiences. He had serviced more than 2,000 carabaos and cattle, but one unique carabao from NBF challenged him. Dante emphasized that through sharing best practices, engaging with fellow technicians, and acknowledging one’s own limitations, the effectiveness of the DA-PCC training program has been enhanced.

This, in turn, enabled them to improve accuracy and reduce unintentional ruminant abortions, ultimately benefiting their farmer clientele. Dante’s unwavering determination and passion earned him a spot among the top three technicians during the batch graduation on October 7.

Artificial Insemination is the flagship program through which propagation and conservation efforts are extended to numerous dairy farmers, partners, and clients across the country.

The NBF is widely recognized as the epicenter for producing the majority of AI technicians and pioneering research and development related to the GIP.