DA-PCC strengthens adaptive capacity of carapreneurs on the effects of climate change

The Department of Agriculture -Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), through its Socio-Economics and Policy Section (SEPS), conducted a lecture-discussion to strengthen the adaptive capacity of carapreneurs on climate change.

The activity was part of an awareness campaign to enhance livestock cooperatives’ adaptation and mitigation strategies on the effects of climate change to their livelihood. It also highlighted the contribution of livestock industry to greenhouse gases and how to lessen its harmful effect on the environment. Studies show that 9.7% of unmanaged carabao manure contributes to greenhouse gases around the globe.

Gerardo F. Delos Santos, chairman of the Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperatives (NEFEDCCO), shared that climate change had impacted their livelihood as carabao raisers.

“Masyadong nakakaapekto ang climate change sa kabuhayan ng mga tao. May mga ‘di inaasahang pagbaha at kalamidad. Nakakaapekto rin ito sa bukid kagaya ng pagdudulot nito ng sakit sa mga palay at mais. Nakakaapekto sa mga pagkain ng hayop, ‘yong mga damo parang ‘di na gaanong tumutubo. Dahilan din ang climate change sa pagkakasakit ng mga alaga naming hayop (Climate change has impacted our livelihood. From unexpected floods and disasters to causing diseases to our crops such as rice and corn. It also affects the growth of forages for our carabaos and causes illness to our livestock),” said Delos Santos.

Estella P. Valiente, OIC of SEPS, served as the resource speaker during the lecture-discussion. She explained that as the temperature rises, it affects the performance of carabaos in milk production. The shelf life of processed milk will also be shorter.

“Tumataas din ang gastusin nila sa tubig. Sa ngayong malamig-lamig, once or twice ang paligo nila sa kalabaw. Pero pag tag-init, 3 to 5 times nila pinapaliguan to keep them cool (Their water consumption has also increased. Now that the weather is cold they bathe their carabaos once or twice. But during the summer, they need to bathe them 3 to 5 times to keep them cool),” added Valiente.

Valiente then urged the carapreneurs to use innovative materials in making climate-smart housing such as the installation of sprinklers, mists, and electric fan to cool off their livestock.

She reminded participants to utilize organic and eco-friendly ways to manage carabao manure such as vermicomposting. Valiente also encouraged to plant trees as a way to mitigate the effects of climate change as trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen and help cool the environment.

The lecture-discussion ended with an open forum and an interactive sharing of carapreneurs on their own effective ways of managing carabao manures. Approximately 50 participants from different dairy cooperatives from Nueva Ecija attended the activity.

Dr. Ronnie D. Domingo, DA-PCC OIC-Executive Director, was also present during the activity.

Dr. Liza Battad named new executive director of DA-PCC

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William D. Dar has appointed former chief for planning and information management of DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) Dr. Liza Battad as the latter’s new executive director.

Dr. Battad was formally welcomed by the DA-PCC officials and employees today in a hybrid program (remote and on-site following standard safety and health protocols), as she assumed her functions, duties, and responsibilities as the newly appointed head of the agency.

DA-PCC OIC Executive Director Dr. Ronnie Domingo gave words of encouragement to Dr. Battad as she may face several hurdles in the service along the way, but assured her of PCCeans’ full support.

Deputy Executive Director for Admin. and Finance Dr. Caro Salces believes that the DA-PCC will soar to greater heights and achievements under Dr. Battad’s leadership and that she will lead the agency to become frontrunner of research and development in the livestock sector.

Deputy Executive Director for Production and Research Dr. Claro Mingala congratulated her and anticipated her full service in leading the workforce to attain the tasks mandated to the agency.

Former Executive Director Dr. Arnel Del Barrio also extended his welcome message to Dr. Battad via phone call.

“We’re here to support you and we’re delighted that the new director is a PCCean. I hope that we’ll continue to implement our program as mandated and overcome whatever challenges we may encounter through the culture of PCC i.e., we work as a team, we solve the problem together, and we move forward,” Dr. Del Barrio said.

Division Chiefs Dr. Eric Palacpac of the Knowledge Management, Dr. Eufrocina Atabay of the Research and Development (represented by Dr. Ma. Wyne Pagaduan), Aimee Fulgencio of the Admin and Finance, and Dr. Ericson Dela Cruz of the Planning and Information Management also gave their respective congratulatory messages and committed to give their unreserved support to her leadership, directives, and vision.

Moreover, DA-PCC regional center directors represented by Grace Recta of DA-PCC at Mariano Marcos State University (Luzon cluster), Ariel Abaquita of DA-PCC at La Carlota Stock Farm (Visayas cluster), and Dr. Lowell Paraguas of DA-PCC at Central Mindanao University also delivered their messages virtually.

In her message, Dr. Battad revealed that leading an organization has always been her dream and one of her prayers, thus, she considers her appointment as “fate”.

 “I draw inspiration from the former leaders of DA-PCC and the top management. We commit to the sets of success and milestones that we will all work together and let’s make DA-PCC’s presence felt across the country and viewed relevant at the level of the DA,” she averred.

She shared that comfort, hope, renewal, inspiration, serenity, and truth serve as her mantra to become a relevant and innovative leader with well-felt effects on the agency’s overall performance.

“We are destined to serve the purpose of our existence. Let’s be felt as catalyst of significant reforms for our clients. It’s not about us at PCC, it’s about the result of the carabao development program for the welfare of the clients,” she said.

“I hope that we will all be ready for a chance to change. Let us all be strong and stay afloat,” she concluded.

Dr. Battad took her oath of office before DA Secretary Dar last June 9. She was appointed following the retirement of Dr. Arnel Del Barrio, who had held the position of executive director for more than six years. Before filling the position, she had served as DA-PCC’s chief administrative officer and planning officer. Most recently, Dr. Battad served as the acting executive director of the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries and was also designated, in a concurrent capacity, as DA Assistant Secretary for regulations.

Her mettle and exemplary performance in government service is manifested by her notable accomplishments as DA-PCC’s planning officer; as lead for partnership development and international cooperation; and as head of the agency’s business development and commercialization unit.

Dr. Battad was a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics at the Pampanga Agricultural College, holds master’s degree in Agribusiness Management at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños, and PhD degree in Community Development in the same university. Her first stint at DA-PCC started as a Project Development Officer II in 1996.

DA-PCC conducts a blended approach for Milkybun Production Training

The DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC), through the Product Development and Innovation Section (PDIS) and KMD’s Learning Events Coordination Section (LECS), is currently conducting a virtual learning activity on Milkybun Production Training to pre-identified cooperatives by island clusters in coordination with the DA-PCC regional centers.

The two-day training employs a blended approach of lecture-discussion, open discussion, on-site virtual tour of the cooperative’s baking facility, followed by a hands-on training virtually supervised by PDIS team.

These select cooperatives were Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative (1st batch) representing Visayas cluster, Bohol Dairy Cooperative and Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives (2nd batch) for Visayas and Luzon clusters, respectively, and lastly, Baclay Multi-Purpose Cooperative for Mindanao cluster.

More or less 30 participants are trained initially from these identified cooperatives. More participants are anticipated from the National Impact Zone (NIZ) or the towns of Nueva Ecija and other DA-PCC regional centers in the future.

The PDIS team headed by Ms. Mina Abella, Supervising Science Research Specialist, explained the rationale of the said activity, which is to address the needs of the cooperatives in acquiring knowledge and skills about the Milkybun production.

On the other hand, Dr. Eufrocina C. Atabay, Chief of PCC’s Research and Development Division, discussed about the Technology Transfer Agreement or Non-disclosure agreement to ensure that the formulation of this technology is exclusive only to the trained cooperatives. She highlighted that this is the first technology or product cascaded for production to support the livelihood of our assisted farmers and partner-cooperatives.

The DA-PCC’s developed Milkybun, an enhanced nutribun owing to incorporation of carabao’s milk, contributes in addressing the malnutrition. Each bun’s nutritive value is equivalent to that of one glass of milk. The DA-PCC ensures that this product provides the energy requirement of the undernourished children, making it compliant to the standards set by the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

This innovation complements provision of fresh milk in the ongoing DepEd’s School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP) and DSWD’s Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP). (Photo by Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative)

Some 4k schoolchildren now benefiting from sterilized canned carabao’s milk

More undernourished children from far-flung and remote areas in Luzon can now benefit from local carabao’s milk following the onset of the distribution of sterilized canned milk with extended shelf life.

Piloting the distribution was the Schools Division Office (SDO) of Aurora with 4,568 beneficiaries under the nationwide school-based feeding program (SBFP) led by the Department of Education (DepEd).

The Licaong Agriculture Cooperative (LAC), one of the DA-PCC-assisted cooperatives in Luzon and milk supplier for the program, delivered in bulk a total of 159,880 cans of sterilized carabao’s milk to the designated drop-off points in Dingalan and San Luis, Aurora, which were received and inspected by their respective SBFP focals.

SDO started the distribution of sterilized milk today with assistance from the parents of the beneficiaries. It was done simultaneously with the provision of the students’ learning modules.

Under the program, each child will receive 180 ml sterilized canned milk every day for 35 feeding days.

Recently, the DA-PCC contracted a third-party toll packer to pack an initial four million cans of sterilized milk through a retort facility using some 40,000 liters of carabao’s milk supplied by local farmer’s cooperatives in Luzon. The products will be distributed in Regions 1 to 3 and parts of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

The retort process allows fresh carabao’s milk to be sterilized in aluminum cans without the need for preservatives.

Through this improved packaging, the shelf life of carabao’s milk is extended from seven days to six months, hence more school children will be able to drink nutritious carabao’s milk, particularly those in previously unreachable areas, and those with no electricity or limited storage facilities.

Aside from the extended shelf life, the sterilized canned milk can easily be transported, stored under room temperature without spoilage, and delivered in bulk rather than on a daily basis.

LAC is also set to deliver 153,725 cans of sterilized carabao’s milk to Bulacan; 4,000 to Mabalacat; and 24,219 to Olongapo before the end of June. Other DepEd SDOs that will distribute sterilized canned carabao’s milk to their respective beneficiaries include Zambales, Tarlac Province, Pampanga, Ilocos Sur, Abra, Pangasinan, San Fernando City, Kalinga, Tabuk City, Bataan, and Nueva Vizcaya.

DA-PCC incorporates whey in fruit flavored isotonic drink

The DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC), through the Product Development and Innovation Section (PDIS), recently reached a milestone in advancing products development by way of incorporating whey into its fruit-flavored isotonic drink. This means whey, which is previously considered as waste, is now put to good use while reducing harm to the environment.

The PDIS team headed by Ms. Mina Abella, Supervising Science Research Specialist, submitted the utility model for registration under the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, which was approved and published last February 2021.

The utility model relates to the use of whey and fruit as flavoring in beverage production. Whey is the liquid remaining after the milk has been curdled and strained during cheese production. It was previously considered as a pollutant or waste because of its high organic matter content causing serious environmental problems. Various technological approaches have been employed to convert whey into value-added products such as energy drinks.

“When we do cheese making, we only get the curds so the whey usually goes to waste. Instead of letting it go to waste, we thought we should just develop it into another valuable product as additional income for dairy cooperatives and interested entrepreneurs. We wanted to add value to it because whey is still nutritious. In fact, whey-based food and beverage products are already introduced in the market and they are often a choice for health-conscious people,” Abella said.

She furthered that whey is an excellent source of high quality protein and amino acids good for muscle tissue development. It also helps in lowering blood pressure, enhancing the body’s antioxidant defense, which can prevent or slow down the damage of cells caused by free radicals, and promoting weight loss.

Out of 10 liters of fresh milk utilized for cheese production, 8 to 10 liters of whey are produced. The fruit-flavored isotonic drink utilizes fresh acid whey and aims to reduce its lactose content using lactase enzyme. The collected whey is then used in preparation of an isotonic whey beverage intended for the lactose intolerant and to replenish nutrients that are lost during physical activities.

 The drink is flavored to give a much more soothing, refreshing, and pleasing drinking experience for consumers. Currently, the fruit flavoring includes mango, lemon and orange. The DA-PCC at Central Luzon State University (CLSU) has also produced a line of whey products such as whey vinegar, whey wine, whey taho and ricotta cheese. 

Agrarian reform beneficiaries venture into coconut-carabao enterprise

Agrarian reform beneficiaries and small coconut farmers in Biliran have recently ventured in social entrepreneurship by joining the Coconut-Carabao Development Project (CCDP), a joint undertaking of the DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) and DA-Philippine Coconut Authority (DA-PCA).

Said venture commenced with the entrustment of 34 head of dairy buffaloes as seed animals to the recipient cooperative Canila Agrarian Reform (CARCO) last April 26-27 in Brgy. Canila, Biliran, Biliran.

CARCO is a small coconut farmers organization (SCFO) supported by the DA-PCA. This cooperative is composed of farmer-members who are cultivating rice and coconut.

Currently, CARCO is an active recipient of DA-PCA’s Kasaganaan sa Niyugan ay Kaunlaran ng Bayan (KAANIB) Projects with components that include distribution of cacao seedlings and livestock dispersal. As an active SCFO involved in DA-PCA’s KAANIB Enterprise Development Program (KEDP), CARCO was selected by DA-PCA to serve as conduit cooperative for the CCDP in Biliran.

The recipients were initially met with challenges on handling the crossbred buffaloes but with the introduction of Cara-Aralan sa Niyugan, they were gradually walked through on how to go about with the project. Cara-Aralan sa Niyugan is a blended learning modality on dairy buffalo management and production.

Chrestian Bacalla, project development officer for CCDP-Biliran, said while the farmers were initially challenged to take on the project, they were grateful of this opportunity and they are willing and committed to make their newfound venture a success.

The entrustment activity was also attended by DA-PCC’s Regional Center Operating in Eastern Visayas led by Director Francisco Gabunada, Jr, Senior Science Research Specialist Dr. Ivy Fe Lopez, Community Development Officer Renato Briones, and Farm Superintendent Andres Amihan, Jr.

Photos by Chrestian Bacalla

DA-PCC fulfills One DA’s reform agenda on diversification in Zambo

Through a joint project of DA-Philippine Coconut Authority (DA-PCA) and DA-Philippine Carabao Center called Coconut Carabao Development Project (CCDP), the One DA’s reform agenda on diversification is being implemented in select areas in Mindanao.

One of the 18 key strategies, diversification is a development approach that aims to consolidate farming systems to bring about economies of scale, thus, reducing production cost while increasing farm productivity and incomes.

This, according to the project implementers, is the very objective of the CCDP.  To carry out this purpose, capacity building and technical support services, aside from the other components—which include production, processing, and marketing—are actively carried out in the identified project sites.

Popularized as “Cara-Aralan sa Niyugan”, this component was recently fulfilled in Zamboanga Sibugay, a coverage area of DA-PCC at Mindanao Livestock Production Center, with 27 coconut farmers participating in a season-long training for dairy buffalo production.

The training, which was concluded in a graduation rites last April 30, capacitated CCDP project stakeholders from Makilas and Tomitom, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. They are members of the Small Coconut Farmer Organizations (SCFOs), which is also a component of Coconut Agro-Industrial Hub Project.

The Cara-Aralan sa Niyugan is an 11-week learning event that utilized webinar series on capability enhancement topics and aimed to capacitate farmers on dairy carabao production, processing and marketing. The participants were also given hands-on exercises while maintaining health and safety protocols.

Course topics included: (1) Kwento at Kwenta sa Kalabaw ni Juan, (2) Forage Production and Conservation, (3) Feeding of Buffalo at Different Physiological Stages, (4) Disease Prevention and Control, (5) Proper Housing for Calves and Adults, (6) Best Practices in Artificial Insemination and Breeding, (7) Artificial Insemination in Large Ruminants, (8) Calving Management, (9) Wastong Paraan ng Paggagatas at Pangangasiwa ng Aning Gatas, (10) Hygienic Milk Handling Practices, and  (11) Basic Financial Management.

Present in the graduation ceremony were Ferdinand Acaylar, PCA Regional Director; Ariel Tomong, OIC Division Chief, PCA-Ipil; Bernadette Ventura, Municipal Cooperative Officer; Masdi Hasim, Ipil Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Manager; Fe Emelda Academia, Carabao-based Enterprise Development Coordinator; and project staff.

During the program, Academia gave an overview of the project. In behalf of DA-PCC, she warmly congratulated the graduates and conveyed her praises for them for completing the training despite the restrictions brought by the pandemic.

Acalyar, on the other hand, challenged the participants, “I challenge you to finish what you have committed to start by taking diligent care of the dairy animals that were entrusted to you. Help and support the implementing agencies as well as the stakeholders so that this project will  have its envisioned impact”.

The graduation ceremony was highlighted by a ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) of DA-PCA, DA-PCC, and the local government units of the province of Sibugay and the municipality of Ipil.

The municipality of Ipil was selected as the pilot site because of the LGU-DA-PCC’s strong partnership in the area and its potential to prosper as a dairy hub in Zamboanga Sibugay. The CCDP is an initiative of Senator Cynthia Villar, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform. The project aims to (1) contribute in uplifting the economic situation of coconut farmers through the establishment of carabao-based enterprises complemented by the increased coconut farm productivity, and (2) increase the local milk production in order to contribute in improving the nutrition of the community.

DA-PCC treats mom-employees to a day in the spa

Employees who are mothers in the DA-PCC headquarters were treated to a day in the salon as a tribute to them in celebration of Mother’s Day last May 11-13.

The DA-PCC’s Human Resource Management Section (HRMS) headed by Cecilia C. Abo organized this Mother’s Day Special to give its mom-employees a quick respite from their usual routines with a little pampering. Those who availed of the treat were offered with parlor services including hair rebonding and treatment and a choice of massage or foot care—all on the house.

The personal care treat for the mom-employees of DA-PCC was just a simple way to appreciate their hard work at home and at work. This, according to the organizers, is expected to somehow recognize the important role of mothers in modeling a nurturing environment in the workplace as a way to boost productivity.

One of the special treat recipients, Minda Diloy, who is also the Agency’s Management Systems Audit representative, said this is a very good initiative because when a company rewards its employees they are likely to be motivated to perform better. 

Feedback from the other moms concluded that this initiative was well received and more of this creative employee reward system are expected to become a mainstay in the Agency’s human resource development plan.

With 34 participants, the mom’s day treat was held at the DA-PCC national headquarters.

DA-PCC welcomes new OIC Executive Director

Dr. Ronnie Domingo, formerly the Director of the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI), is the newly designated Officer-in-Charge Executive Director of the DA-Philippine Carabao Center.

Dr. Domingo was formally introduced to the DA-PCC officials and employees today in a general assembly following standard safety and health protocols.

Newly designated Deputy Executive Director for Administration and Finance Dr. Caro Salces introduced the various divisions that make up the organic structure of DA-PCC and the core values that the PCCeans live by.

Former OIC Executive Director and is now the newly designated OIC-Deputy Executive Director for Production and Research Dr. Claro Mingala gave a fond introduction of Dr. Domingo as the two have previously worked together at the DA-BAI as Director and Assistant Director, respectively.

In his message, Dr. Domingo shared some of his learnings as a public servant and having previously served in national positions.

Philosophy, competence, and character or PCC, he said, are key to leading a meaningful contribution to public service. Success, he added, should be about getting better every day.

He concluded his message to the PCCeans by saying that even when uncertainties have become the norm in government service, all things work together for the good of those who love God and abide by His purpose.

Dr. Domingo was a former professor at the Central Luzon State University and University of the Philippines at Los Baños. Outside his professional career, he is an anointed pastor and esteemed motivational speaker.