Agri Chief William Dar leads inauguration of ‘National Livestock Cryobank’

Department of Agriculture Secretary Dr. William Dar led the unveiling of the facility marker of the National Livestock Cryobank (NLC), which serves as a national repository of germplasm and biological samples from diverse livestock species, on September 3.

The NLC, situated at the Livestock Innovations and Biotechnology Complex of the DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, will aid in the advancement of research for development (R4D) works on ex-situ cryoconservation for animal genetic resources (AnGR) from diverse livestock species towards conservation, management, and utilization, leading to sustainable animal production systems.

These endeavours are seen to sustain the genetic diversity of livestock species in the country and to provide a source of genetics to be used by farmers, livestock breeders, and other interested clients.

Secretary Dar, during the inauguration program, tried depositing frozen buffalo semen in the cryotank as part of a demonstration that the AnGR can be stored in an extremely cold temperature and can stay viable until future utilization. The NLC has a total of six cryotanks that store AnGR in liquid nitrogen.

The construction of this facility was made possible through the technical assistance and generous support of DA-PCC’s international partners, which include the United States of America through the PL480 project and the Republic of South Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

Following the inauguration activity was the signing of administrative order and memorandum circular to formally declare DA-PCC’s cryobank facility as the National Livestock Cryobank towards conservation and management program.

The agriculture chief was also briefed on the agency’s technologies and research initiatives, in which he urged researchers and technology developers to not only focus on publication but also dwell more on the application and impact of such technologies for the benefit of rural farming families.

Apart from the inauguration activity, Secretary Dar, also presided the 22nd Advisory Board Meeting composed of the following: DA-PCC’s top management, DA-PCC former executive director, DA Undersecretary for Livestock, Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) Executive Director, Bureau of Animal Industry Director, Chancellor of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB) and presidents of Central Luzon State University (CLSU), Central Mindanao University (CMU), Cagayan State University (CSU), Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU), Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), Visayas State University (VSU), West Visayas State University (WVSU), University of Southern Mindanao (USM), and farmers’ representatives. The 23rd AdBoard meeting will be held in December.

He also led the opening of the Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita farmers’ exhibit at the DA-PCC grounds. (With reports from Lilian Villamor)

DA-PCC hosts ‘DA-Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita’ in N.E.

Novo Ecijanos can now easily access and buy fresh, affordable, and quality agri-fishery products through the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita farmers exhibit currently set up at the DA-Philippine Carabao Center grounds. 

The Kadiwa (Katuwang sa Diwa at Gawa) ni Ani at Kita program at DA-PCC was put up at the Milka Krem compound in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija on September 3 in support of the DA’s twin objectives of “masaganang ani (bountiful harvest)” and “mataas na kita (higher income)” for farmers and fisherfolk.

Said program, launched in September 2019 and rolled out across the country, serves as a direct marketing link between farmers and fisherfolk and consumers. This initiative makes farm produce accessible and affordable to consumers.

Leading the opening of the Kadiwa stores at DA-PCC were Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Noel Reyes, Assistant Secretary-designate for Regulations Dr. Liza Battad, DA-PCC’s OIC Executive Director Dr. Ronnie Domingo, Deputy Executive Director for Administration and Finance Dr. Caro Salces, and Deputy Executive Director for Production and Research Dr. Claro Mingala.

A total of 10 booths were set up, eight of which were manned by DA-PCC’s assisted cooperatives in Nueva Ecija including Eastern Primary Multipurpose Cooperative (MPC), Simula ng Panibagong Bukas MPC, Brotherskeeper MPC, all in San Jose City; Catalanacan MPC, Licaong Agriculture Cooperative, Aling Maria Homemade sweets in Science City of Muñoz; Caudillo Prutas at Gulay Producers Cooperative in Cabanatuan City; and Bongabon Dairy Cooperative in Bongabon.  

Sec. Dar visited each booth and took cognizance of the farmers’ plight amid the pandemic. He encouraged them to carry on and assured them of government’s initiatives, one of which is the Kadiwa, to help them sell their commodities directly to buyers.

“This Kadiwa is a good opportunity for farmers and co-op members to bring their agri-fishery products to communities. Some of our products like corn, sweet potato, and eggplant are outcomes of the Gatas, Gulay, Karne (GGK) project of DA-PCC. Consumers may opt to buy such products here instead of going and queuing to the market,” Samuel Mercader, EPMPC member and one of the sellers, said.

Kadiwa stalls are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Friday. Among the products on sale include carabao’s milk-based and Kardeli carabao meat products, native delicacies, squash, string beans, sweet corn, calamansi, cucumber, tomatoes, papaya, sweet potato, native chicken, oyster mushroom, eggplant, okra, and other assorted lowland vegetables and fruits. (Photo by Chrissalyn Marcelo)

DA declares DA-PCC cryobank facility as ‘National Livestock Cryobank’

The Department of Agriculture is set to declare the DA-Philippine Carabao Center’s (DA-PCC) cryobank facility in the Science City of Muñoz as the National Livestock Cryobank (NLC) to strengthen livestock biotechnology innovations and cryopreservation capacities of the agency through an inauguration program scheduled on September 3.

Additionally, the NLC will aid in the advancement of research for development (R4D) works on ex-situ cryoconservation for animal genetic resources from diverse livestock species towards conservation, management, and utilization, leading to a sustainable animal production system.

The NLC serves as the national repository for germplasm and biological samples from diverse livestock species. This will support the conservation and management of animal genetic resources that is seen to sustain the genetic diversity of livestock species in the country and will be the source of genetics to be used by farmers, livestock breeders, and other interested clients.

With this, DA-PCC OIC Executive Director Dr. Ronnie Domingo encourages more farmer clients and private sectors to avail of this service as the agency prioritizes the banking of animal genetic resources (AnGR) and biological samples.

DA Secretary Dr. William Dar and Undersecretary for Livestock Dr. William Medrano are expected to grace the inauguration ceremonies.

ALAB Karbawan projects kick-start development of local dairy industry

The implementation of the Accelerating Livelihood and Assets Buildup (ALAB)– Karbawan projects has become a harbinger of hope not only in providing business opportunities to carapreneurs but also in boosting the local dairy industry.

This has been corroborated by the recent accomplishments of the ALAB-Karbawan development project across the country, which is currently being spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC).

ALAB-Karbawan is an umbrella program initiative and popularized name for two province-wide Carabao-based Enterprise Development implementation projects namely Carabao-based Business Improvement Network (CBIN) and Coconut-Carabao Development Project (CCDP), both initiated and funded by the Office of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform Chairperson Senator Cynthia Villar.

Sen. Villar has long been a strong advocate for spurring the local dairy industry, thus, she promotes dairy enterprise as another income-generating venture for smallholder farmers.

ALAB-Karbawan also supports the main goal of the government to increase the country’s milk production and create livelihood opportunities, hence Sen. Villar allotted a total budget of PHP545 million for the implementation of CBIN (PHP295M for FY2019 and FY2020; on process budget of PHP110M for FY2021) and CCDP (PHP140M).

The CBIN and CCDP are expected to start up or improve dairy development in the identified provinces through entrustment of dairy buffaloes, engagement of processing plants and outlets to pursue carabao-based business ventures, and provision of capability-building and technical support services.

The project sites include Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Bataan, Oriental Mindoro, Quezon Province, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Palawan, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Antique, Aklan, Leyte, Biliran, Northern Samar, Samar, Zamboanga Peninsula, Misamis Oriental, Davao Del Sur, Davao De Oro, Davao Oriental, South Cotabato, and North Cotabato.

CBIN

The CBIN project, launched in October 2019, aims to establish a robust carabao-based enterprise in recipient provinces, thereby creating livelihood for farmers.

The project is being implemented in 28 project sites covering 26 provinces nationwide. As of August 13, 2021, it has entrusted a total of 937 female crossbred buffaloes to farmer recipients in different provinces. Likewise, DA-PCC has entrusted a total of 151 buffaloes, including bulls, to further intensify herd build-up in the provinces.

More than 700 farmers and LGU partners were capacitated through a series of learning events, which included Farmer Livestock School on Dairy Buffalo Production (FLS-DBP) and trainings on social preparation, organization, and management. Also, the project sites in Pangasinan, Tarlac, Bataan, Albay, Palawan, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Davao Oriental and North Cotabato have already established their respective processing facilities and dairy market outlets.

Cooperative-partners were, likewise, engaged to supply milk and milk products in support of RA 11037 or Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act, wherein one of the components is the Milk Feeding Program. In 2020, more than 100,000 children benefited from the locally sourced milk produced by the said cooperatives. It is estimated that by 2021, participating cooperatives nationwide will earn more than PHP50 million through the Milk Feeding Program.

CCDP

As for the CCDP, which was launched in October 2020, the DA-PCC and DA-Philippine Coconut Authority (DA-PCA) have collaborated to develop the dairy carabao value chain in a coconut farming system.

Coconut farmers through sustainable carabao-based livelihoods are expected to earn additional income and venture into new business opportunities.

As of December 31, 2020, the project’s budget amounting to PHP37,305,000 has been downloaded to identified DA-PCC regional centers where preparatory activities have been conducted to mobilize provincial partners. Currently, a total of 89 dairy buffaloes have also been entrusted in three recipient provinces.

The project also aims to ensure the availability of locally produced milk in support of RA 11037 to help address the problem of undernutrition among school children.

Moreover, the DA-PCA will download the Year 2 budget amounting to PHP102,695,000 once the budget for the 1st year has been obligated. Included in this budget are the construction of dairy processing and marketing infrastructure and start-up dairy equipment. The DA-PCC will implement initiatives with the assistance of DA-PCA in the entrustment of dairy carabaos, provision of processing and marketing equipment and facilities, capability-building activities, and technical support services. The project will be implemented in 17 project sites in 14 provinces. (With reports from Chamanei C. Elias)

DA-PCC at CMU supports Gawad Kalinga ‘Walang Iwanan’ program

The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at Central Mindanao University (DA-PCC at CMU) extended supplementary support to the Feeding Program under the “Walang Iwanan” project of Gawad Kalinga (GK) Bukidnon Chapter launched last July 1.

Said program with the theme, “Hunger ends where caring begins” was spearheaded by GK Bukidnon Chapter and Bukidnon Tagoloan Mulahaya Ha Kabukalagan Agriculture Cooperative (BUKTAMACO) in partnership with DA-PCC at CMU.

As a supplementary component in the feeding program, the DA-PCC at CMU will provide 2,900 sachets of 200 ml pasteurized carabao’s milk every day for 40 feeding days to beneficiaries in the vulnerable sector, which include children, pregnant, and senior citizens from select barangays in Bukidnon identified by GK.

DA-PCC at CMU Center Director Dr. Lowell Paraguas said helping each other overcome this pandemic with various means will go a long way.

“We advocate the bayanihan spirit, walang iwanan, serbisyo muna bago benepisyo para sa Diyos at bayan,” Dr. Paraguas added.

Walang iwanan (leave no one behind) is our commitment to the poor. It is a testament of patriotism fueled by faith. Insha’allah (God willing), together, we can end this poverty,” GK Executive Director Dan Bercasio said.

Moreover, GK Chairman Luis Oquiňena shared that GK is building a nation empowered by people with faith and patriotism; a nation made up of caring and sharing communities, dedicated to eradicate poverty and restore human dignity.

“We aim to engage at least 20,000 barangays through our platforms of solidarity, resulting in millions of lives transformed and their stories told. We are called to be heroes for the poorest. You are a part of that growing army,” Oquiňena added.

Harvey Maraguinot, head of GK in Mindanao, said the kindness of DA-PCC boosts their morale to continue helping those less fortunate despite the risk of being exposed to the virus.

“We commend and appreciate DA-PCC’s contribution to this cause. It only shows how much our efforts are valued and we feel even more inspired to continue our advocacy to achieve zero hunger nation,” Maraguinot concluded.

First-ever Dairy Box outlet opens in Region 12

Another “Dairy Box” outlet and processing facility was formally opened and turned over today by the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at University of Southern Mindanao (DA-PCC at USM) to farmers’ cooperative Sta. Catalina Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SCMPC) in Barangay Labuo, President Roxas, Cotabato City.


The facility was established as part of the Carabao-based Business Improvement Network (CBIN) project or popularly known as the “Accelerating Livelihood and Assets Buildup (ALAB)-Karbawan” implemented by DA-PCC and funded by the Office of Senator Cynthia Villar.

 
This facility, which is a component of a Php10 million-project, aims to serve as a dairy hub where farmers can sell and market their nutritious and healthy carabao’s milk products.


Leading the turnover ceremony were key officials of the DA, local government, and SCMPC. Center director Benjamin John Basilio, community development specialist Paul Andrew Texon, Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Congressman Jose Tejada, Municipal Mayor Jonathan Mahimpit, Officer-in-charge Municipal Agriculturist Romel Jaculba, SCMPC Vice chairperson Danilo Baliguat and SCMPC General Manager Ma. Fe Pineda graced the ceremonies. DA-RFO XII Technical Director for Operations Zaldy Boloron, Second District Board Member Philbert Malaluan and Arthur Jared Go from the office of Senator Villar also graced the event to represent DA-RFO XII Director Arlan Mangelen, North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco, and Senator Cynthia Villar, respectively.


Other Dairy Box and processing facilities established by the DA-PCC under its ALAB-Karbawan project can be located in the provinces of Pangasinan, Tarlac, Bataan, Albay, Palawan, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga Del Sur, and Zamboanga Del Norte.

Carapreneurship gains ground in Region 2 thru ALAB Karbawan project

The DA-Philippine Carabao Center at Cagayan State University (DA-PCC at CSU) entrusted on August 6 a total of 50 head of crossbred dairy buffaloes to Saint Vincent Parish Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SVPMPC) in Dupax Del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya—a milestone marking the first ALAB-Karbawan project in Region 2. 


Said activity is a component of the project titled Carabao-based Business Improvement Network (CBIN), popularized as Accelerating Livelihood Assets Buildup (ALAB)- Karbawan of the DA-PCC. It was funded by the Office of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform Chairperson Senator Cynthia Villar and is geared towards providing income opportunities to farmers and progressing the carabao dairy industry. 


The entrustment activity was done after the co-op members underwent a series of trainings, which included social preparation and basic buffalo management. 


Sen. Villar, through a video message, promotes dairy enterprise as another income-generating venture in response to the pressing need for additional source of income of farmers, hence the implementation of CBIN project.


DA-PCC OIC Executive Director Dr. Ronnie Domingo, in his message, imparted words of encouragement to co-op members saying they are blessed with “3 viable Ps: Pamunuan, Programa, and Properties (labor and carabaos)”. 


“You have to value these blessings and aim for higher milk production as there is a sure market for your milk produce due to the national feeding program,” he added.


Dupax Del Sur Mayor Ruben Basconcillo expressed his utmost gratitude to Sen. Villar, DA-PCC, and Provincial Government for choosing their town as one of the beneficiaries for the project.


“Out of over 1,400 municipalities across the country, only 17 were selected for the project and we are beyond grateful to be included in this undertaking. Employment- and economy-wise, the whole town will surely benefit from this,” he said.

SVPMPC Chairman Noel Amador committed to make the most of the project and never take it for granted. He said that they will cherish, nurture and propagate the carabaos entrusted to them and guaranteed that they too will thrive in this venture like others. He also envisioned for their co-op to launch an agri-tourism site in the long run.


With this project, SVMPC was urged by the office of Sen. Villar to establish a learning site and eventually a farm school, as accredited by ATI and TESDA, respectively. 

Also gracing the turn-over ceremony were DA-PCC Planning and Information Management Division OIC Dr. Ericson Dela Cruz who gave an overview of the project, Municipal Agriculturist Elgine Iritan, DA-PCC at CSU Center Director Dr. Rovina Piñera, and other employees and SVMPC members.


Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Christopher Seraspi, DA-RFO 2 Dr. Roberto Busania, and Malen Galang also attended the event to represent Gov. Carlos Padilla, DA-RFO 2 Regional Executive Director Narciso Edillo, and Sen. Villar, respectively. They also delivered their respective messages of support to the project.

USDA visits DA-PCC for collab on strengthening livestock biotechnology

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-Manila conducted an appreciation visit in line with the US PL480 Project: Strengthening the Livestock Biotechnology Center at the DA-Philippine Carabao Center National Headquarters and Gene Pool (PCCNHQGP) on August 5.

The on-going PL480 project is focused on the “Intensified Community-Based Dairy Enterprise Development” which will be jointly implemented by the National Dairy Administration (NDA) and DA-PCC with the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) as fund manager. It aims to produce 27.70 million liters of milk throughout the project period, increase dairy carabao inventory by 922 head through importation and local procurement of purebred or crossbred buffaloes, and increase dairy cattle inventory by 7,323 head and dairy goat inventory by 9,611 head through importation and expanded animal breeding programs.

The project also targets to increase the average family income of dairy farmers by 20 percent annually through the development of carabao-based enterprises, as well as increase the average income of dairy goat farmers by 18 percent.

With a budget of Php513 million, DA-PCC will focus on increasing the milk production and dairy buffalo herd through the following project components: dairy buffalo procurement and distribution, expanded artificial insemination, feed production and development, dairy buffalo enterprise development, capacity building, and project management, monitoring and evaluation.

Florence M. Sevilla, Agricultural Specialist of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service previously requested an appreciation visit with the agency intending to have a better understanding and insight on the status of the dairy industry in the Philippines.  

Accompanying Sevilla was Ryan Bedford, Agricultural Attaché of the US Embassy. The visit included an observation at the Cryobank laboratory, Livestock Innovations and Biotechnology Complex to showcase DA-PCC technologies, dairy and meat products and the Total Mixed Ration (TMR) machine at the agency’s Gene Pool. (Photo by Ma. Cecilia Irang)

Agri Chief William Dar visits DA-PCC

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar had a quick visit to DA-PCC’s National Water Buffalo Gene Pool and Livestock Innovations and Biotechnology Complex today wherein he was briefed on the agency’s technologies and research initiatives. 


Lilian Villamor, Senior Science Research Specialist, discussed the DA-PCC’s diverse animal genetic resources cryobank and conservation efforts while Dr. Gabriel Tubalinal presented the use of Quick Care pen-side DNA-based test kit for caprine arthritis encephalitis virus. 


Meanwhile, Dr. Cyril Baltazar, Farm Superintendent II, toured him around the institutional herd and reported the animal inventory and milk production in the farm.


During his visit, Secretary Dar instructed DA-PCC to establish more breeding farms, expedite distribution of carabao modules, innovate, and intensify herd build up for higher milk production in order to contribute to the country’s increasing food requirements. He furthered that the role of carabaos is still important in agriculture even with mechanization.


The agri chief was accompanied by DA-PCC OIC Executive Director Dr. Ronnie Domingo, Deputy Executive Director for Production and Research Dr. Claro Mingala, DA Central Luzon Regional Director Crispulo Bautista, and Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications Noel Reyes.

(Photo and additional information from Sec. William Dar’s Official FB Page)