Thirty-six dairy farmers in Nueva Ecija recently graduated from the very first “Farmer Livestock School on Dairy Buffalo Production (FLS-DBP)” in the Philippines and are expected to implement good practices in their dairy buffalo production systems to increase efficiency and income.
Said FLS graduation was held last February 10 at the City Hall of San Jose City in Nueva Ecija. Those who graduated were 29 dairy farmers from San Jose City and seven from Guimba-Talugtug in Nueva Ecija.
According to Dr. Eric Palacpac, project leader, FLS-DBP is primarily aimed at developing extension modalities for the holistic delivery of extension services and strengthening technology adoption among village-based dairy buffalo farmers.
“This graduation day is proof that we have an output in our effort to strengthen extension support to buffalo farmers. We expect to see significant improvements in your practices on dairy buffalo production that will result in higher income. If you don’t adopt and practice the knowledge you gained from this project, our efforts will be futile,” Dr. Palacpac said as he welcomed the participants and guests in the ceremony.
Select farmers shared their respective testimonies on how the project helped them improve their practices on dairy buffalo production.
Emily Velasco of Simula ng Panibagong Bukas Producers Cooperative (SIPBUPCO) said the FLS helped her explore other benefits of carabao dairying. She shared that she now gets additional income not only from milking her dairy buffaloes but also from vermicomposting using carabao manure.
“I will definitely regret it if I didn’t join this project. It helped me a lot. Even though I have personal activities to attend to, I always prioritize our FLS schedule to improve my knowledge and skills on dairy production,” she said.
Florencio Madulid of Eastern Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative (EPMPC) imparted his learnings on proper feeding management and recording. He also shared that he has been applying the good practices that he learned from the FLS since it started.
“I used to feed my dairy animals with fodder before but because of FLS, I am now supplementing them with dairy concentrates and it really helped boost their milk production. I want to thank those people behind this project. I will surely impart my knowledge and learnings to my fellow dairy farmers,” he said.
Ludivico Guieb of Ayos Lomboy Producers Cooperative (ALPC), on the other hand, encouraged his fellow dairy farmers to adopt care and management practices that is taught in the FLS so that they will also attain increased milk production, contributing to the PCC’s target of recording two million liters of carabao’s milk annually.
“This FLS has taught me so much about properly taking care of my dairy buffaloes . I am asking everyone here to believe in the full potential of your carabaos to produce more milk. Eventually, we will all succeed in this venture if only we apply all our learnings,” Guieb averred.
Ferdinand Guillermo of Cinense Dairy Association (CDA) shared his new knowledge on the importance of the buffaloes’ good nutrition and proper milk handling. He said he also learned a lot about the other kinds of forages that can be used as feedstuff.
“When you are into dairying, nothing is wasted. You are earning from buffalo’s milk and at the same time from its manure,” he said while smiling.
After the testimonials, outstanding dairy farmers who have excelled in their performance along the course were recognized during the ceremony.
According to Rovelyn Jacang, PCC Science Research Specialist II and one of the project staff, the criteria for the selection of top-performing dairy farmers include application of technologies taught during discussions (50%), written examination (20%), class participation (20%), and complete attendance (10%).
For the San Jose cluster participants, Moises Alfonso was given the “Gold Farmer” recognition, Gilbert Daduyo the “Silver Farmer”, and Jessie Villanueva the “Bronze Farmer”; they are all members of EPMPC.
For the Guimba-Talugtug cluster, Ludivico Guieb of ALPC was the “Gold Farmer”, Ferdinand Guillermo and Edmar Lagliva of CDA were “ Silver and Bronze Farmers”, respectively.
Those who received special awards were Rogelio Peñaflor, Emily Velasco, Romeo Venturina, Jimuel Grospe, Ferdinand Guillermo, Onofre Dayag, Lee-Ar De Vera, and Edmar Lagliva for their active participation during FLS sessions.
Also present during the graduation ceremony were Dr. Felomino Mamuad, PCC deputy executive director; Dr. Ruth Miclat-Sonaco, center director of International Training Center on Pig Husbandry, Alexander Bautista, city administrator; Ms. Anna Marie Alo, supervising science research specialist of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research Development (PCAARRD); FLS project staff Jacang and Erwin Valiente, PCC Science Research Specialist II; and FLS-DBP facilitators Estella Valiente, PCC Science Research Specialist II; Daniel De Vera, agricultural technologist; Allan Dayag of CDA; Teody Nieva of Guiset Organic Farmers Credit Cooperative; Lumicio Magtalas of San Rafael Dairy Producers Cooperative; Melchor Correa and Eliseo Mislang of EPMPC; Freddie Carlos of SIPBUPCO; Ma. Theresa Sawit, PCC Senior Science Research Specialist; and Gina Tuquero.
The 34-week project ran every Fridays for San Jose cluster and every Wednesdays for Guimba cluster guided by accredited FLS-DBP facilitators.
It is hoped to be replicated in other impact zone areas of PCC to benefit more farmers. Meanwhile, the pilot class of FLS-DBP in the Ilocos Norte cluster is expected to graduate in March this year.