Carabao takes spotlight in farmers’ congress

“The carabao remains the central figure of agriculture in the Philippines!”
Pablo John Garcia, representative of the 3rd District of Cebu, emphasized this during his message in the opening program of the 9th National Carabao Conference (NCC) held on October 16-17 in Cebu.

Cong. Garcia renowned the vital role of carabao as a sustainable livelihood for the locals of Pinamungajan, Cebu. He also lauded the efforts of the cooperative in helping improve the quality of life of its farmer members, as is the case with the Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LMPC).

The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) and the National Dairy Box Business Group in partnership with LMPC, a conduit co-op under the Carabao-based Business Improvement Network (CBIN), were behind the organization of this year’s NCC.

The NCC is an annual conference aimed at bringing together participants, caretakers, and all stakeholders in the carabao-based industry. It acts as a forum for the exchange and dissemination of important knowledge about innovations, know-how, ideas, and best practices in carabao farming.

“We are proud to say that because of the assistance of DA-PCC, the farmers here in Pinamungajan have become more empowered in their livelihoods by venturing into the carabao dairy enterprise. They are now aware na may mas malaking pagkakakitaan pala sa kalabaw other than the tailing of their lands,” said Ana Jessica Baricuatro, Mayor of Pinamungajan, Cebu.

Bearing the theme, “Pagbabagong Mukha at Sigla, Maalab na Pagkakalabawan sa Bagong Pilipinas,” the event singled out the efforts and contributions of all the value-chain key players in improving the quality of life for farmers.

Dr. Caro B. Salces, OIC-Executive Director of DA-PCC, recognized the support of the sponsors and the provincial and local government units to the Carabao Development Program (CDP).

Through his presentation, “Kwentong Maalab na Pagkakalabawan: A Progress Briefer on the CDP,” Dr. Salces featured the updates and successes of the Accelerating Livelihood and Assets Buildup (ALAB)-Karbawan projects, Dairy Box, retort milk facilities, CBIN and CCDP projects, among others.

“Thank you Senator Villar for funding many of our programs and to our partners, and this NCC’s speakers and sharers of success stories and transformation,” Salces said.

The LMPC in Lamac, Pinamungajan, Cebu hosted this year’s two-day event with 379 farmers, partners, and supporters in attendance.

The conference kicked off with the procession of assisted cooperatives of the agency and the opening program graced by Cong. Garcia and Pinamungajan Mayor Baricuatro.

The participants were engaged with stories of transformation among carabao farmers, cooperatives, and their communities in the form of a techno-product exhibition and plenary sessions such as: Pagbabagong Mukha sa Kanayunan, Championing Community Empowerment through Carapreneurship by Annalyn Tade, Richard Reyes, and Grace Boyles; Pagbabagong Mukha sa Kooperatiba, Cooperative Development and Sustainability by Joseph Nathaniel Caguimbal and Richard Hidalgo; Pagbabagong Sigla tungo sa Makabuluhang Pamamahala, Fostering Progressive Partnership with the LGUs through the CBIN/CCDP Cooperative Conduits by Dr. Stella Lapiz and Engr. Blas Lamug; Maalab na Pagkakalabawan, The Role of Cooperatives and Partners in Scaling Up the Carabao Industry by Cresente Paez; Cooperative Resiliency and Management Program by Ruth Ramirez; The National Milk Feeding Program: Future Directions by Dr. Mercedes Castillo; National Dairy Box Business Group: Ways Forward by Wendell Amoronio; and Meat Value Chain Business Opportunity Pitch by Patrizia Camille Saturno and Queenie Ruiz.

Zadieshar Sanchez, Chief of Planning Information and Monitoring Division (PIMD) of DA-PCC led the Carabao Industry Stakeholders’ Consultation to consolidate and address the concerns of the cooperatives and individual farmers.

The consultation was divided into four groups namely: Milk Feeding, Dairy Box, AI/Bull Loan/Nutrition Management, and Production and Management.
One of the highlights of the event was the launching of the Dairy Herd Buildup Project (DHBP), a project funded by the Office of the Senate Committee on Food, Agriculture, and Agrarian Reform chaired by Senator Cynthia Villar that is set to revolutionize the local dairy industry.

This was followed by the launching of the official jingle of NCC titled, ‘Wow Kalabaw’ composed by the Applied Communication Section-Knowledge Management Division (ACS-KMD) of DA-PCC in collaboration with Brainfreeze Multimedia.

The awards ceremonies for outstanding carabao farmers from across the country punctuated the opening day of the conference. The winners for the Outstanding Dairy Farmers were Danilo Peralta (Family Module Category); Joseph Nathaniel Caguimbal (Semi-Commercial Category); and Dominic Paclibar (Commercial Category). The winner for the Outstanding Dairy Cooperative was The Rosario Livestock and Agriculture Farming Cooperative. The winner for Outstanding Bull Recipient was Mario Clavo while the Outstanding Village-Based Artificial Insemination Technician (VBAIT) was Edgardo Angeles. Also, the awardees for Best Dairy Animals include (Purebred-Junior Cow Category) ID no. 2LSC19003 owned by Gabriel Modina, (Purebred-Senior Cow) ID no. 2UMC19034 owned by Rodel Estañol, (Crossbred-Junior Cow) ID no. 5UMC21038 owned by Arturo Madrigal, and (Crossbred-Senior Cow) ID no. 6MMC21312 owned by Rhommel Gamponia.

Two ‘Huwaran sa Kalabawan’ were also recognized. The Huwarang Juana sa Kalabawan award was given to Olivia Palazo while the Huwarang Kabataan sa Kalabawan went to Lester Alagar.