Focused on alleviating malnutrition among indigenous people in Upper Valley, South Cotabato, the DA-Philippine Carabao Center at University of Southern Mindanao (DA-PCC at USM) launched recently the Accelerating Livelihood and Assets Buildup (ALAB) Karbawan project in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.
The Highland Agricultural Credit Cooperative (HACC) is the participating conduit cooperative.
Initially, 18 animals from a total commitment of 50 head female crossbred buffaloes were entrusted to the conduit co-op as component of the project, which was sponsored by Senator Cynthia A. Villar.
“We make sure that our dairy projects like ALAB-Karbawan are inclusive and accessible to all sectors especially the marginalized such as indigenous people. It is quite challenging for HACC to develop and sustain a dairy value chain but with the support of our partners and the local and provincial governments, we can help them achieve a ‘masaganang ani at mataas na kita’ as espoused by the Department of Agriculture,” Benjamin John C. Basilio, DA-PCC at USM center director, said.
Regional executive director of DA-RFO-XII Arlan M. Mangelen reiterated the all-out support of the regional office to the project beneficiaries. Mangelen recognized in his message the important role of dairy farmers in contributing to national food security.
In addition, DA-RFO-XII “Task Force Gatas” Ret. Col. Celestino Desamito challenged the HACC to boost their capacity in dairying in order to address malnutrition and develop a dairy hub in Upper Valley.
“We are ready to take on all the challenges that are coming our way. Dairying is new to us but with the able guidance of PCC, we are looking forward to a flourishing local dairy industry in Lake Sebu,” Merlinda Go, HACC chairperson, said.
Prior to the entrustment of dairy animals, HACC members have undergone social preparation and technical training on buffalo production and management to help them develop strong commitment to the project and to provide them with knowledge and skills on dairy production systems. Soon, members of the co-op are expected to serve as effective disseminators of technologies on improved management practices to fellow farmers.