Select aspiring youth carapreneurs from the Alalay sa Kaunlaran Incorporated (ASKI) Skills and Knowledge Institute (SKI) are set to manage the ASKI-AusAid Agri Center that was inaugurated last January 22 in Talavera, Nueva Ecija.
The construction of the building was funded by the Australian Government and is intended for the processing, packaging, and marketing of products from carabao’s milk. The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) had already entrusted dairy carabaos to the ASKI-SKI for the said initiative and the agency will also serve as one of the sources of milk that will be processed in the center.
“We came up with this project to help students who are not financially capable to continue their studies and to bring back the interest of the youth in agriculture,” Rolando Victoria, ASKI Group president and chief executive officer, said.
To manage the center, the “Samahan ng mga Kabataan Para sa Kaunlaran (SKPK)” comprised of high school students from the ASKI’s institute was created last year.
According to Ley Ann Pale, President of SKPK, the center can encourage youth like her to consider agriculture as a source of livelihood of students through value-added products from processed carabao’s milk.
Meanwhile, PCC Executive Director Dr. Arnel Del Barrio expressed his support and commitment to the said project.
“PCC is willing to afford technical assistance and training on the processing of carabao-based products. We will also pledge to entrust additional dairy carabaos to ASKI-SKI for milk production,” Dr. Del Barrio underscored in his message during the center’s inauguration program.
He added that the project also has the potential to be part of the work force for the efforts geared towards the provision of milk for Filipino children aged 5-12 years old as per Republic Act 11307 or the “‘Masustansiyang Pagkain Para sa Batang Pilipino Act”. The said act aims to fight malnutrition among Filipino children.
Also present in the event were Talavera Mayor Nerivi Santos Martinez and Department of Trade and Industry Nueva Ecija (DTI-NE) Provincial Director Brigida Pili.
“The center can be part of DTI’s project on Shared Service Facility (SSF) where equipment for livelihood were given,” DTI Provincial Director Pili said. She added that there are about 50 cooperatives that were granted with SSF.
ASKI group CEO Victoria shared that they hope to expand the project to other schools as well and encourage Filipinos to further patronize carabao’s milk.
The ASKI is a non-stock and non-profit organization involved in social services and establishment of small to medium enterprise.