First Pinaggagatas Festival celebrates dairy industry dev’t, community unity in San Agustin, Isabela

The first-ever “Pinaggagatas Festival” held in Barangay Sinaoangan Sur, San Agustin Isabela highlighted the role of carabao’s milk in supporting livelihoods and community development.

Organized by the Barangay Sinaoangan Sur government in partnership with the Local Government of San Agustin and the DA-PCC at Cagayan State University (DA-PCC at CSU), the festival attracted participants and spectators from various parts of the region.

Barangay Sinaoangan Sur, known for being the key contributor of the town’s dairy industry boasting the highest number of crossbred buffaloes, played a crucial part in realizing San Agustin’s vision of becoming the Crossbred Capital of the Philippines.

With the theme “Pinaggatas ti Nuang: Maysa a Pagkakitaan ken Pagnam-ayan para iti Narangrang-ay a Masakbayan,” the festival showcased not only the town’s rich culture but also the economic importance of the local dairy buffalo industry. It also emphasized the important role of such events in promoting tourism, preserving cultural heritage, and driving economic advancement in the community.

Dr. Rovina Piñera, OIC-Center Director of DA-PCC at CSU, emphasized the collaborative efforts between DA-PCC and San Agustin Municipality in advancing the dairy buffalo industry. Mayor Cesar Mondala and 4th District Representative Joseph Salvador Tan were among the distinguished guests who graced the event, which took place on April 18, 2024.

Mayor Mondala commended the importance of carabao dairying as an alternative source of income, particularly during times of fluctuating crop prices.

“Ang paggagatas dito sa Sinaoangan ay napakainam na oportunidad upang kumita, lalo na ngayong mababa ang presyo ng mais,” he stated.
Aside from cultural displays and exhibits, the festival highlighted the nutritional benefits of fresh carabao’s milk in combating malnutrition. Children present during the festival were each given fresh carabao’s milk.

The Pinaggagatas Festival not only celebrated the gains of the dairy industry but also showcased the resilience and unity of San Agustin’s community in embracing sustainable livelihoods and cultural pride.

Bongabon farmers geared up for carabao farming venture

Twenty farmers from the Olivete Association and Ariendo Dairy Association underwent a Social Preparation Training to ensure that they will be socially prepared to venture into dairy buffalo management and production.

The training, conducted by the DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) through the Socioeconomic and Environmental Research Section (SEERS) and the National Dairy Business Hub (NDBH), in collaboration with the Local Government of Bongabon, took place on April 18, 2024, at Bongabon Municipal Hall, Bongabon, Nueva Ecija.

Bongabon Sangguniang Bayan member and chairperson of the agriculture committee Lope Valmonte conveyed gratitude to DA-PCC and the participating cooperatives for their support and commitment to the initiative.

“Carabao’s milk plays a vital role in the communities of Bongabon, and we value this partnership with DA-PCC. We hope that the knowledge gained by our participants today will be put into practice,” Valmonte said.

Estella Valiente, head of SEERS, who also served as the speaker, discussed topics on carabao-based enterprises and factors influencing their successful implementation. She emphasized the significance of having a vision when venturing into the carabao business.

“Our vision serves as a map for our goals. It’s not enough that we’re just eager; we have to deepen our understanding,” Valiente said.

Dr. Clarissa Odsigue, NDBH Research Specialist, gave a lecture on the potential challenges in carabao farming. She emphasized the significance of providing appropriate treatment and feeding to the carabaos. She also pointed out that improper management could lead to financial burdens for farmers.

“We should be paying attention to what we give to our carabaos, from their shelter down to the water we provide,” shared Dr. Odsigue.

She noted that if the water is safe enough for people to drink, it should be the standard for what we give to carabaos.

Victorias City advances local dairy prod’n with carabao communal pen launch

Victorias City in Negros Occidental is making headway in boosting its local dairy industry through the inauguration of a PHP7-million communal pen for dairy carabaos on April 18, 2024.

The Local Government Unit (LGU) of Victorias led the initiative and funded the construction of this sustainable and eco-friendly carabao pen as part of the Carabao-Based Business Improvement Network (CBIN) Project. This project is a collaborative effort between the DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) and the Office of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform, chaired by Senator Cynthia Villar.

The newly launched carabao dairy farm houses a total of 63 crossbred carabaos and will be managed by the San Antonio Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SAFMPC).

Located at Hacienda San Antonio in Barangay 14, Victorias City, the carabao pen serves as a designated facility for SAFMPC’s animals and livestock raisers. Its primary goal is to maximize potential and minimize losses in the local farming sector.

Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez expressed optimism about the project. He stated that the carabao pen shows the city’s commitment to improving livestock management and agricultural practices. The project, he said, will benefit local farmers and provide them with the necessary resources.

Dr. Caro Salces, DA-PCC Deputy Executive Director, emphasized the collective effort needed to support local farmers and promote economic growth.

“Let us reaffirm our commitment to supporting our local farmers, empowering our rural communities, and fostering economic prosperity. Together, we can cultivate a brighter future for Victorias City and pave the way for a thriving dairy sector in the region,” Dr. Salces remarked.

Said project was specifically spearheaded by Victorias City Veterinary Office led by OIC Allen Joy G. Panes, RMT, and was initiated by former City Veterinarian Dr. John Michael Cabuguason.

The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Vice Mayor Abelardo Bantug III, DA-PCC at La Carlota Stock Farm Center Director Eva Alvarez, Board Member Richard Julius Sablan, city councilors, barangay leaders, department heads, employees from DA and DA-PCC, and members of SAFMPC, headed by chairperson Rey Barreto.

NegOcc launches first Dairy Box to boost local dairy market

Negrenses now have a new one-stop shop for a variety of carabao’s milk products with the opening of Dairy Box at Satellite Market Barangay I in Victorias City, Negros Occidental on April 18, 2024.

Senator Mark Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship, served as the esteemed guest of the program. He led the blessing and inauguration ceremony together with Mayor Javier Miguel Benitez. They were also joined by DA-Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) Deputy Executive Director Dr. Caro Salces, DA-PCC at La Carlota Stock Farm (PCC at LCSF) Center Director Eva Alvarez, DA Regional Office VI RTD for Operations and Extension Engr. Jose Albert Barrogo, and Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Placeda Lemana.

The Dairy Box serves as the first one-stop store for carabao dairy products in Negros Occidental Province.

Senator Villar praised the City Mayor and LGU for their innovative initiatives, stressing the Dairy Box’s positive influence on the local community.

He shared his early experiences with fresh carabao’s milk and its nutritional benefits for children, saying, “Fresh milk makes a real difference.”

Moreover, Senator Villar highlighted the Dairy Box’s purpose and benefits for the Victorias City community and Negros Occidental Province.

“The Dairy Box will serve as a support infrastructure for processing and marketing carabao milk products. We look forward to this becoming additional income for our carabao farmers, as it will be a one-stop shop for various products like flavored milk, yogurt, cheese, and more,” he stated.

Mayor Benitez named the event the “Great Victorias Carabao Moo-vement (Movement),” not just to launch facilities, but to establish a foundation for future prosperity in the city.

“These projects are not just about infrastructure; they are symbols of hope. They reflect our commitment to nurturing our land, our animals, and most importantly, our people,” he expressed.

Mayor Javi emphasized the transformative impact of fresh carabao’s milk on children’s growth and its potential to combat malnutrition.

San Antonio Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SAFMPC) will serve as the LGU’s partner in managing and operating the Dairy Box.

The ceremony included a symbolic milk toast to signify unity and commitment to present and future collaborations.

The Dairy Box is part of the Carabao-based Business Improvement Network (CBIN) or ALAB Karbawan project funded by the Office of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform chaired by Senator Cynthia Villar.

Dairy Box-Victorias City offers a range of carabao’s milk-based products, including pasteurized milk, flavored milk, yogurt, milk gelo, ice cream, kesong puti, cookies, pastillas de leche, dulce de leche, and dulce gatas.

Also present during the ceremony were Vice Mayor Abelardo Bantug III, Board Member Richard Julius Sablan, city councilors, barangay leaders, Victorias City vet, department heads, and other DA-PCC employees.

Enhanced carabao-based livelihood opportunities for SLP beneficiaries in Region VII

Beneficiaries of the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) now have expanded opportunities in carabao-related livelihood endeavors. This development follows the recent signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) among the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and its partner agencies in the private, government, and State Colleges and Universities (SUCs).

Said MOA intends to support the objectives of the SLP and align with the government’s ten-point developmental agenda. It aims to provide harmonized capability-building and agriculture-related livelihood interventions to qualified program participants and organize them into Community-Based Organizations (CBO) to connect with future and potential markets, both private and government.

In this partnership, the DA-PCC at USF is expected to provide technical support on dairy buffalo management to the SLP beneficiaries; facilitate their access to various trainings and seminars about dairy enterprise establishment. The collaboration extends to strengthening participants’ competencies and knowledge through CBO formation, leadership training initiatives, and ongoing program monitoring and evaluation in close coordination with the DSWD Office and other partner agencies.

The MOA signing ceremony took place on April 8 at the Robinsons Galleria Activity Center in Cebu City.

DA-PCC presents Kardeli, Blockmate at ALOK 2024

The DA-Philippine Carabao Center’s (DA-PCC) Kardeli and Blockmate are two of the products presented during the 2024 Annual Launch of Knowledge Products for Adoption and Commercialization (ALOK): The Annual Regional Technological Pitching held today at the Academic Affairs Amphitheatre, Central Luzon State University (CLSU).

ALOK serves as a platform for innovation, collaboration, and progress, fostering a dynamic ecosystem for the advancement of agricultural and entrepreneurial endeavors in the Philippines.

A total of 15 presenters (Food and Non-Food Clusters) from different agencies and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) presented their technologies.

Under the non-food cluster, Psalm Joseph Lavarias, science research analyst of DA-PCC’s Production System and Nutrition Section, gave a presentation titled, “A Multi-Nutrient Lick Block as Feed Supplement for Ruminants and Method of Producing Blockmate.”

“Blockmate” is a supplement feed for buffaloes, cows, goats, and sheep. It is rich in energy, minerals and nitrogen (which becomes protein in the body) that animals need to accelerate their growth and milk production.

Patrizia Camille Saturno, Science Research Specialist II of DA-PCC’s Carabao Enterprise Development Section (CEDS), introduced Kardeli, the agency’s own brand of premium carabao’s meat.

Following the presentation of the 15 agri-based technologies, the participants were engaged in discussions, offering feedback, suggestions for improvement, and strategies for effective promotion and support for these innovations.

Dr. Edgar Orden, vice president for research and extension, emphasized the crucial role of commercialization in driving the development of innovative products. He congratulated all participants and urged everyone to be aware and to attract potential investors to support these innovative ventures.

CLSU President Evaristo Abella praised the technology generators for their achievements and expressed hope that the event would open up more opportunities for commercialization, ultimately leading to a better community through trade-blazing innovation.

The activity is an initiative of the DOST-PCAARRD titled “Regional Agri-Aqua Innovation System Enhancement (RAISE) Program in Central Luzon.

DA-PCC at USF trains more AI technicians

The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at Ubay Stock Farm (DA-PCC at USF) commenced the training on intensified reproductive management and welcomed the 44th batch of trainees for Basic Artificial Insemination (AI) and Pregnancy Diagnosis (PD) for Large Ruminants on April 11 in Lomangog, Ubay, Bohol.

The participants are aspiring Visayans from Bohol and Cebu who wish to become AI technicians, while the other three are staff of DA-PCC at USF who want to advance their skills in intensified reproductive management.

Bonifacia Granada, the AI training coordinator of the center, stressed the pivotal role of AI technicians in increasing the production of genetically improved carabaos in the countryside.

“The purpose of DA-PCC is to upgrade the breed of the carabaos of the farmers,” Granada emphasized.

“Thus, to ensure continuity of the genetic improvement program in the field and to cope with the agency’s increasing target on calf and consequently milk production, the center had programmed at least two (2) trainings every year,” Granada explained.

Dr. Maria Dinah Loculan, center director of the DA-PCC at USF, inspired the participants with the income opportunities of an AI technician. She said that the center is giving incentives to every conduct of AI and PD and an additional one for every calf produced from the said breeding technique. This is on top of the AI fee they will receive from the farmers, especially the village-based AI technicians (VBAITs).

Dr. Loculan further encouraged the trainees to be more inquisitive and eager to learn throughout the training, particularly about the “skill” component.

“Above all, it is important to uphold honesty, particularly when communicating with farmers regarding the actual condition of their carabaos, so that they will perceive the sincerity of our service,” Dr. Loculan continued.

Since 2006, DA-PCC at USF has trained 561 AI technicians from Regions 6, 7, and 8. However, only half of them are actively doing AI, as some of them took another living path, were retired, worked overseas, or were deceased.

Granada stated that in addition to supporting the agency’s upgrading program, the AI technician could also assist in educating and training the farmer in milk collection after the inseminated carabao gives birth. This is because the collected milk will be processed and eventually sold, particularly in light of the current implementation of the milk-feeding program.

The training will run for 24 days and conclude on May 3, 2024. It comprises a three-day lecture, a one-week practicum at DA-PCC at USF farm, and a two-week practice in the field.

DA Asec. Daniel Atayde visits DA-PCC to explore collab opportunities

Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary for Logistics Daniel Atayde visited the DA-Philippine Carabao Center National Headquarters and Gene Pool yesterday, April 5, to discuss potential collaborations and logistics improvement.

He was warmly welcomed by DA-PCC Executive Director Dr. Liza Battad and other DA-PCC officials.

The discussions primarily focused on enhancing collaboration between DA-PCC and DA through the Kadiwa program, an initiative by the DA aimed at promoting local agricultural products. Asec. Atayde and Dr. Battad explored strategies to leverage this partnership for product promotion and potential tie-ups with private sectors to demonstrate a shared commitment to boosting visibility and market reach within the agricultural sector.

The meeting also tackled improving logistics for the distribution of milk to the beneficiaries of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) feeding program. Asec Atayde and the DA-PCC team engaged in discussions to rationalize distribution channels thereby ensuring an efficient supply of dairy products to educational institutions and supporting the nutritional needs of undernourished children nationwide.

During the tour, Asec Atayde gained insights into DA-PCC’s facilities, including laboratories and dairy farms. He also commended DA-PCC’s infrastructure’s design and functionality, and high-quality products

DA-PCC, Lamut, Ifugao join forces to revitalize carabao population

To revitalize the Carabao Development Program in the Ifugao Province, the DA-Philippine Carabao Center at Cagayan State University (DA-PCC at CSU) and the municipality of Lamut, Ifugao signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) during the Farmers and Fisherfolk Day at Lamut Tourism Village on April 4, 2024.

The collaboration between Lamut and DA-PCC extends beyond the singular objective of implementing the Carabao Development Program. It also aims to address the declining population of carabaos in the area. In recent years, Lamut has witnessed a reduction in its carabao population, primarily attributed to the prevalent slaughtering practices for culinary consumption. Carabao meat holds immense cultural significance in Lamut, often featured prominently in celebratory feasts such as weddings, festivals, and birthdays.

Mayor Victomar Bunnol’s proactive approach sparked the partnership when he approached DA-PCC, seeking assistance in replenishing the municipality’s carabao population.

Lamut envisions establishing a Buffalo Multiplier Farm and Breeding Center to increase their carabao population and to implement an ordinance regulating the slaughter of female buffaloes. This ordinance would promote the sustainable growth of the carabao population within Lamut.

Prior to the program’s official launch, the Municipal Agriculturist Office of Lamut, Ifugao, had already invited the DA-PCC to visit a15-hectare pastureland dedicated for the Multiplier Farm and breeding center.

Dr. Rovina R. Piñera, center director of DA-PCC at CSU reiterated DA-PCC’s unwavering commitment to supporting Lamut in this endeavor.

“Batid po naming ang kahalagahan ng mga kalabaw sa kultura ng Lamut, at buong puso po kaming sumusuporta kay Mayor at sa Municipality of Lamut sa inyong mga pagsisikap upang muling buhayin at paramihin ang populasyon ng inyong mga kalabaw. Handa kaming magbigay ng lahat ng kinakailangang tulong, mula sa teknikal na kaalaman at iba pang mga pangangailangan upang tiyakin ang tagumpay ng Carabao Development Program at ang pagtatatag ng inyong Multiplier Farm,” Dr. Piñera said.

With this newly established partnership, the Municipality of Lamut can anticipate a surge in interventions and services provided by DA-PCC. This collaborative effort promises a brighter future for Lamut’s carabao population and cultural heritage.