DA-PCC plays a vital role in providing 100% milk demand in gov’t feeding program

The DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) and its assisted cooperatives commit to further expanding their efforts to achieve the DA’s goal of completely self-sourcing milk for the National Milk Feeding Program.

Pursuant to RA 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act, the DA-PCC tapped its assisted co-ops to supply the demands for the milk feeding program led by the Department of Education and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

For the 2024 implementation, 50% of the milk requirements for the feeding program will be provided by the DA-PCC’s assisted cooperatives while the remaining half is set to be supplied by the assisted co-ops of the National Dairy Authority (NDA). This concerted effort aligns with the DA’s overarching objective of providing 100% of the requirements for the milk feeding program.

DA Undersecretary and Chairperson of committees related to livestock Deogracias Victor Savellano underscored the need to overcome the lingering 13% dependency on commercially outsourced milk, as evidenced by prior implementations.

DA-PCC OIC Executive Director Dr. Caro Salces attributed this challenge to logistical hurdles in far-flung areas. The reliance on traditional delivery methods has often resulted in delays and inadequate supply, leaving many children without the nutrition they require for healthy growth and development.

Recognizing the need for an innovative solution to ensure consistent supply of milk, the DA-PCC, in partnership with its assisted co-ops, has turned to retort facilities to bridge the gap in its delivery capabilities. Retort technology involves using airtight packaging and heat processing to sterilize and preserve milk, extending its shelf life significantly without compromising its nutritional value. This method not only ensures the safety and quality of the milk but also allows for bulk transportation to regions where frequent deliveries are impractical.

“We now have existing retort facilities in Isabela, Science City of Muñoz, Batangas, and Sorsogon managed by our partners in the industry. We also have plans to establish similar facilities in Bohol and Zamboanga del Sur to cater to the Visayas and Mindanao areas,” Dr. Salces remarked.
Furthermore, DA-PCC is poised to establish milk laboratories within its 12 regional centers nationwide, offering cooperative members access to milk quality testing services. These initiatives are made possible through a locally funded project spearheaded by Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform.

Beyond infrastructure developments, the DA-PCC is set to employ a series of strategic measures. These include enhancing carabao smallholder farms’ productivity through the establishment of National Dairy Herd Improvement system in partnership with the Korea International Cooperation Agency, improving milk production through increased number of dairy animals and sufficient feeding, establishing dairy herd buildup through the new coop conduit scheme, and carrying out massive artificial insemination activities, among others.

Since its inception in 2019, the milk feeding program has already proven its worth, benefiting over 4.2 million undernourished children and concurrently boosting the income of 53 DA-PCC-assisted cooperatives, collectively garnering a total revenue of PHP2 billion.

PLGU La Union banners the carabao as instrument of ‘PROBINSIYAnihan’ in Elyu

The Provincial Local Government of La Union and DA-PCC recently inked a memorandum of understanding (MOA) to firm up collaboration on carabao-based dairy development in the province, Rosario, La Union, August 25, 2023.

Said MOA signing was part of the relaunching of Dairy Box-La Union not only as a hub for carabao-based products but also of the other products of the province. This move is seen to expand the offerings of Elyu to its visitors as a famed tourist destination and Surfing Capital of the north.

La Union Governor Raphaelle Veronica “Rafy” Ortega-David Gov. Rafy emphasized in her speech the value of bayanihan (cooperative endeavor) or which she calls “La Union PROBINSYAhan” to propel the province to achieve its dreams for its people.

“Hindi po iisang tao ang may pakana nito…kaya po kami [PCC, DTI, PGLU] nandito sama-sama ngayon because this is a joint effort, this is a collaboration and ito po yung bayanihan na gusto ko nga pong mangyari sa La Union na kung saan lahat po tayo ay tulong-tulong para maging posible po ang mga pangarap natin para sa bawa’t isa”, she said.

She added that love for oneself and for one another can make all things possible for the province, “kasi kung meron po tayong pagmamahalan sa isa’t isa, hindi po tayo magsasawang ibigay yung 100% po natin…para mapaganda pa po ang pamumuhay ng bawa’t isa sa atin.”

The MOA signing was led by DA-PCC OIC Executive Director Dr. Caro B. Salces, DA-PCC at DMMMSU Center Director Vilma C. Gagni, Rosario Dairy Farmers Cooperative (RDFC) Chairperson Annalyn L. Tade, and OIC Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Domingo Bobby C. Calub III.

Chairperson Tade, on behalf of the members of RDFC, said their gratitude to the PLGU and DA-PCC overflows for all the assistance their cooperative is receiving from the government. She also committed to sustain the operations of RDFC as a conduit to prospering the local dairy industry in La Union in order to help more farmers. She said that RDFC is one with the heart of the Governor on PROBINSIYAnihan saying, “hindi po competition, kundi collaboration”.

The Dairy Box is a one-stop-shop established as a market support facility for carabao-based dairy farmers.

After the relaunching and MOA signing, the group proceeded to Agoo Breeding Station in Nazareno, Agoo, La Union for the groundbreaking ceremony of the “Establishment of Carabao-Based Enterprise Develoment Dairy Farm”.

Dr. Salces underscored the benefits of the project, “It is like hitting two birds with one stone, gaganda yung nutrition ng mga bata and kikita din yung ating mga farmers.” With the support of the political leadership in the Elyu, he believes that there is no reason for the local dairy development program not to succeed.

Also present during the relaunching of the Dairy Box-La Union were Dr. Edwin Atabay, Head of Operations of PCC-NHQ, Regional Director Grace Falgui-Baluyan of the DTI-RFO I, Provincial Director Merlie D. Membrere of the DTI-La Union, DA-PCC at DMMMSU staff and the officers and members of Aringay Dairy Raisers Association (ADCRA), Sudipen Dairy Farmers Association (SDFA), and RDFC.

DA-PCC, KOICA explore drone-based precision agriculture for dairy buffalo prod’n

Officials of the Korean International Cooperation’s Agency (KOICA) visited the DA-PCC at CLSU’s National Bull Farm (NBF) in Digdig Joson, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija for capacity building on drone utilization for forage production in the Philippines last August 24.

DA-PCC OIC Executive Director Dr. Caro B. Salces and KOICA Director of the International Development Cooperation Center (IDCC) Jaeyun Chang led the team that inspected and collected data required to operate the drone.

According to Dr. Salces, the project is seen to help in the development of drone-based precision farming techniques that will effectively improve forage development for productive dairy buffaloes.

Said data will be used to assess, evaluate, and estimate the herbage productivity of the area and to identify plant nutrient deficiencies in the National Bull Farm. The project’s goal is to develop precision technologies for livestock production such as planting and seeding, crop maintenance, crop monitoring, and health evaluation and management.

Ultimately, according to the implementation team, this technological advancement will aid in the monitoring and yield estimation of forage through remote sensing technologies and to support the development of feed input production through utilization of drones in the livestock industry. DA-PCC’s NBF is home to a vast resource of forage species, legumes and grasses. The farm is an expanse of 520 hectares and is planned to be a good testing area for the project’s purpose.

LGU Bacnotan teams up with DA-PCC for silage production training

The Local Government Unit of Bacnotan, led by Mayor Divine C. Fontanilla, partnered with DA-PCC at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DA-PCC at DMMMSU) in conducting a training on silage production for the town’s buffalo raisers on August 24 in Bitalag, Bacnotan, La Union.

Said activity aimed to introduce silage commercialization as another income generating venture for buffalo farmers and to equip them on utilizing agricultural by-products as fodder for ruminants.

Among the topics discussed were Forage Production and Conservation Techniques by Vienna Kristel A. Grospe, Science Research Analyst; and Animal Health and Common Diseases of Buffaloes by Dr. Mac Erwin P. Perez, center veterinarian of DA-PCC at DMMMSU. The lectures were followed by hands-on training on silage production.

Federico R. Copuz, Sanggunian Bayan member and chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries, expressed his appreciation for the participants’ and speakers’ unwavering commitment despite the inclement weather. “Maganda itong training na hatid ng PCC…. at sana dahil dito ay marami kayong matutunan, lalo na dito sa pagproduce ng pakain para sa mga alagang kalabaw,” SBM Corpuz said.

He also encouraged the farmers to carry on with their buffalo raising endeavors, assuring them of the LGU’s continuous support.

Currently, LGU-Bacnotan has distributed 47 buffaloes to the community, benefitting a total of 33 buffalo raisers in the area. They also recently registered their association in the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) under the name Buffalo Raisers and Dairy Producers of Bacnotan La Union.

Said training was initiated by the Municipal Agriculture Office, headed by Dr. Divina Gracia G. Apigo, and facilitated by Jenesse May S. Arellano, buffalo monitoring staff.

DA-PCC at WVSU trains 25 new paravets, welcomes 5 new AI technicians

In an effort to enhance the capabilities of AI technicians in carabao breeding and health management, the DA-PCC at West Visayas State University (DA-PCC at WVSU) organized a comprehensive Paravet Training for AI technicians held on August 23-24.

This initiative marked the first-of-its-kind training in Western Visayas, aimed at improving the skills of AI technicians in the region.

The training included lectures on the Basic Herd Health Protocol of Carabaos, Common Diseases and Nutritional Deficiencies and Anomalies, Body Condition Scoring, Basic Drug administration procedures, Basic Milk Testing Procedures Interpretation and Recording, and Basic Laboratory Procedures for Routinary Herd Health Activities, and practicum on Castration Procedures, Ultrasonography as Reproductive Diagnostic Tool, Proper Handling and Restraining Techniques in Large Ruminants, Proper Animal Identification (Ear tagging, Bolus Insertion, RFID reading), blood sample collection, and TB testing.

Acknowledging the important role and challenges faced by AI technicians and paravets, DA-PCC at WVSU Center Director Arn D. Granada emphasized the importance of continuous learning. He underscored the significance of prioritizing client satisfaction and leveraging feedback to enhance services. Dir. Granada expressed that this training marked just the beginning of their ongoing learning journey, with mentors at PCC always ready to enrich their knowledge.

Fedelinoper D. Lopez, a project-based AI technician and a participant, expressed his gratitude for the training. “The skills I acquired from the training will enable me to offer enhanced services to farmers within my designated area. With DA-PCC’s unwavering support through training initiatives like this, I’m committed to delivering my utmost in the field as long as I’m capable,” Lopez said.

Dr. Myrtel C. Alcazar, Training and GIP coordinator deems AI technicians as “full-package” agents capable of delivering exceptional veterinary services to farming clients. Dr. Alcazar also commended the enthusiasm displayed by the AI technicians throughout the training and hoped that their learning journey would continue beyond the training’s conclusion.

The training’s closing ceremony also saw the graduation of five new AI technicians from the Basic Training Course on Artificial Insemination and Pregnancy Diagnosis in Large Ruminants, which took place from July 24 to August 24.

Donald Rey Magbanua, a technical staff member from the Department of Agriculture– UNAIP and one of the newly trained AI technicians, shared his insights. He commended the active involvement of PCC at WVSU in artificial insemination and expressed his gratitude for the knowledge and skills he gained through the training.

Reflecting on its commitment to capacity building, DA-PCC at WVSU has successfully trained 25 AI technicians since 2020. The current batch of graduates marks the 8th time the center conducted its in-house training.

DA-ATI-RTC XII, DA-PCC at USM extend partnership thru AI training for AEWs

The DA-Agricultural Training Institute–Regional Training Center XII (DA-ATI-RTC XII) and DA-Philippine Carabao Center at USM have extended their partnership in enhancing the knowledge and skills of Agriculture Extension Workers (AEWs) by conducting a training that focuses on the utilization of research outputs and hands-on experiences in Artificial Insemination (AI) for large ruminants.

The training was held on August 7 to 18 in Kabacan, Cotabato. It was participated in by 18 select AEWs from Region XII and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) where a majority of them had already undergone a basic training course on pregnancy diagnosis and AI in large ruminants.

The DA-PCC’s pool of experts led by Dr. Edwin C. Atabay together with Joseph Oliver Lofranco, Dir. Benjamin John C. Basilio, Jeffrey A. Rabanal, Dr. Virigilio V. Lopez, and Nasrola S. Ibrahim served as resource speakers for the following topics: animal health, animal nutrition, semen motility testing, fixed-time AI, and ultrasonography.

“This training provided us additional knowledge on AI and served as a refresher course for us. Makakaasa kayo na babaunin namin ang mga kaalaman na ito at ibabahagi sa mga magsasaka na aming nasasakupan,” AI Technician Ronald Padilla said.

During the culmination program of the said training, ATI Assistant Director Mona P. Dela Cruz and DA-PCC at USM AI Coordinator Jeffrey A. Rabanal emphasized the vital role of trained individuals in intensifying the genetic improvement program for carabao and cattle in their respective regions.

Moreover, DA-PCC at USM Center Director Basilio expressed his gratitude to ATI for its continued support of the carabao upgrading program. He added this initiative has the potential to enhance calf drop efficiency, consequently contributing to an eventual increase in milk production that can adequately meet the demands of the country’s dairy industry.

DA-PCC at USM inks partnership with Bangsamoro Agri-Fishery Network for RDE activities in BARMM

The DA-Philippine Carabao Center at University of Southern Mindanao (DA-PCC at USM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the organization and operationalization of the Bangsamoro Agri-Fishery Research, Development, and Extension Network (BAFRDEN) with different agri-fishery agencies in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) last August 16 in Davao City.

Together with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform- BARMM (MAFAR-BARMM), State Colleges and Universities (SUCs), and partner agencies in the Bangsamoro Region, the MOU aims to establish a network that institutionalizes strong linkage for research, development, and extension activities; and to have an inter-agency coordination and collaboration undertaking and addressing the needs of the farming and fishing communities in BARMM.

“Agriculture, fisheries, and agrarian reform hold a pivotal role in the prosperity of our region. They are not just sectors of our economy, they are pillars of our society. In this context, the significance of research cannot be overstated. Research in this domain is not merely an academic pursuit, it is the beacon of progress and hope,” MAFAR-BARMM Minister Mohammad Swaib Yacob said.

DA-PCC at USM Center Director Benjamin John C. Basilio also expressed his gratitude and his commitment to sharing the available resources and technologies of PCC and to providing available mechanisms in the promotion of carabao-related services in the Bangsamoro Region. I

n addition, DA-PCC at USM Research Coordinator Rheo Ryan P. Balbuena attended the MOU signing and stated that the partnership will cover the collaborative undertakings such as the exchange of results of the research, development, and extension projects of the member institutions of the network.

“Since DA-PCC at USM is now part of the BAFRDEN, this engagement will open avenues of opportunity for the agency to commit and help our Bangsamoro farmers through the Carabao Development Program (CDP) and livestock research,” Balbuena said.

DA-PCC hosts product benchmarking for mozzarella cheese and processed buffalo meat

In a bid to foster innovation and collaboration within the agricultural sector, the DA-PCC at Central Luzon State University (DA-PCC at CLSU) hosted a benchmarking activity for its select developed products.

The benchmarking mission aimed to offer participants an in-depth understanding of the products and technologies developed by DA-PCC at CLSU, specifically centered around mozzarella cheese and processed buffalo meat. The ultimate aim was to foster networking and collaboration throughout Central Luzon, solidifying the region’s position as an agricultural and technological hub.

Said activity was held alongside the 3rd quarter meeting of member agencies of the Provincial Inclusive Innovation Center (PIIC) Nueva Ecija and representatives of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises on August 16 in the Science City of Muñoz, NE.

The PIIC collaborated with the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Council to harness the potential of technology adaptation from both private and public sectors, fostering unique product innovations through Research and Development Projects across Region III.

During the event, Dr. Ericson N. Dela Cruz, center director of DA-PCC at CLSU, took the opportunity to unveil a range of newly developed carabao leather hide novelty products that are set to launch this year, further diversifying the product offerings available.

Dr. Richard Simangan, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Provincial Director of Nueva Ecija Provincial Office (NEPO), highlighted the importance of leveraging existing mature technologies within the region. He emphasized that through collaborative efforts with partner stakeholders, these technologies could be promoted and integrated into Central Luzon’s commercial landscape, with a long-term vision of extending the reach nationally.

Dr. Simangan outlined a two-pronged strategy to achieve these goals. First, he advocated conducting surveys to ascertain the specific needs of MSMEs. This information would then be communicated to technology developers, suppliers, and service providers to ensure alignment. The second approach involved integrating traditional research and technology resources with survey data to refine and improve ongoing projects.

Present at the meeting were representatives from different MSMEs, dairy cooperatives, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), DA-PCC, DA-PCC at CLSU, Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology (NEUST)-TBI, CLSU-AFTBI, PhilRice, and DTI as the lead agency.

DA-PCC at CLSU center director bags CSC’s Pagasa Award

DA-PCC at CLSU Center Director Dr. Ericson N. Dela Cruz was the regional awardee of the esteemed Pagasa Award by the Civil Service Commission (CSC). The recognition comes as part of the 2023 Search for Outstanding Government Workers, aimed at motivating or inspiring government employees to improve the quality of their performance and instill deeper involvement in public service.

The award was conferred to Dr. Dela Cruz at the CSC National Capital Region in Quezon City on May 19, 2023 and was formally recognized by the DA-PCC family during its Flag Raising Ceremony today at the Eusebio Hall within the premises of the national headquarters.

Dr. Dela Cruz took this opportunity to dedicate the award to his late mother, Ligaya Dela Cruz, whose memory continues to inspire him on his journey. He also extended his dedication to the DA-PCC partner farmers hailing from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. These farmers, he said, continue to be his inspiration and motivation as he delivers unwavering public service branded with excellence, professionalism, integrity, and commitment.

Dr. Caro B. Salces, DA-PCC OIC Executive Director, offered his commendation to Dr. Dela Cruz, expressing gratitude for his notable contributions to the agency. Dr. Salces also acknowledged Dr. Dela Cruz as an exemplar of the agency’s positive image, citing his accomplishments as a source of pride and inspiration.

The Pagasa Awards, as established under Executive Order No. 292, recognizes superior work performance and outstanding contributions benefitting an office, agency, community, or region.