Scientists, breeders and geneticists have initiated a move to organize a technical working group as a major step in accelerating efforts aimed at facilitating the exchange of best buffalo genetics worldwide.
This development is an offshoot of an international genetic improvement conference and workshop focusing on dairy buffaloes held November 28-29 at the Marriot Hotel in Pasay City, Metro Manila.
The two-day gathering was hosted by the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture that is mandated to improve the genetic potentials of the native buffalo as source of milk and meat.
The group envisions the establishment of an international semen exchange program that will facilitate easier identification and exchange of the best buffalo genetics among cooperating countries.
According to PCC executive director Dr. Libertado C. Cruz, the program will be patterned with that of Interbull, a worldwide committee which makes accurate genetic evaluations among cattle, both within and across countries.
“There are two mechanisms used in [the evaluation of] dairy cattle. The first is the system of gathering accurate information on the animal and establishing a neutral body that will capture all the data from different countries and analyze the genetic potential of each of the animal under each given environment and [the second is] an opportunity of germplasm exchange,” he explained.
He stressed that in order to establish the semen exchange program, participating countries need to agree to be a part of the International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR), a “worldwide organization for the standardization of animal recording and productivity evaluation” under which the Interbull is a sub-committee.
From this, the group will be able to collect accurate data to be sent to ICAR for evaluation, he added.
The collaboration is part of PCC’s genetic improvement efforts among dairy buffaloes. Through the program, it will be easier to identify the animals with best genetic characteristics among millions of buffaloes which will be used to breed more best-performing buffaloes.
The program will ultimately benefit the rural farmers in terms of improved livelihood and income.
Aside from the Philippines, the other countries represented in the conference were India, Pakistan, Brazil, Italy, China and Australia. An ICAR representative, who served as a consultant, also attended the gathering.