Javier, Leyte: Site of PH’s 1st dairy buffalo multiplier farm

The town of Javier in Leyte province, about 73 kilometers south of Tacloban City, now holds the distinction of having the country’s first ever dairy buffalo multiplier farm (DBMF).

In a simple ceremony held November 8 in Sitio Mapula, Zone II of the municipality, Dr. Arnel del Barrio, acting executive director of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), formally turned over to JDBMF proponent-operator Michael Javier 50 Italian Murrah heifers that serve as the farm’s nucleus herd.

Present during the occasion, which coincided with the 1st anniversary of the occurrence of Supertyphoon “Yolanda”, were Javier Mayor Leonardo Javier Sr., Dr. Jose Bacusmo, Visayas State University (VSU) president; Dr. Othelo Capuno, VSU vice president for research and extension; Dr. Julius Abela, PCC at VSU center director, Vice Mayor Emma M. Abueva, Regional Director Cynthia Nierras of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); and members of the Javier sangguniang bayan.

The JDBMF will be supervised and monitored by PCC at VSU, which covers Region 8 or the Eastern Visayas region.

“This multiplier farm is the newest program of PCC. We at PCC are always willing to collaborate and participate to the development of our program in the department of agriculture. I hope we will still continue this good collaboration and PCC will always help in terms of breeding, technical services, capability building and many more. That is our promise, we will be of help in any way we can. Let’s help this project to prosper for this will be the stepping stone for a bigger project and to create more opportunities like this,“ Del Barrio declared in remarks during the awarding rite.

In his response, Mayor Javier expressed optimism the dairy buffalo multiplier farm will result in economic benefits for his constituents.

“What does this multiplier farm mean to the town? It means, we will have milk so we will have income. We will have organic fertilizers from their manure. We will benefit a lot. I will prove, in front of everybody here, it is not impossible to make farmers rich and we will achieve that. I will remember this day not only because of (super typhoon) ‘Yolanda’ but because this day marks the first time ever in the history of the Philippines that a multiplier farm is installed in a small town like Javier, Leyte,“ he proudly stated.

The PCC’s DBMF program is aimed at improving efficiency in the multiplication and propagation of good quality dairy buffalo genetics that can be utilized in establishing a viable commercial buffalo-based dairy farm. In this manner, buffalo genetic sources may be widely spread and not limited to PCC

Those interested in applying as an operator of a dairy buffalo multiplier farmer must meet specific qualification-requirements that include the following: a recent business permit or mayor’s permit; a co-maker like legal spouse, parents or children with age of not less than 18 years old; dairy production and management capabilities; willing to be trained on the technical aspects of a DBMF; a titled/long-term leased land with developed pasture area; the means to provide for feed and mineral supplementation; available production facility (animal shed, milking parlor, feed storage, animal treatment and isolation area) and equipment; the capacity to provide ad libitum supply of potable water; and must be able to shoulder the cost of transporting the animals from PCC to the DBMF site.

Those who can apply for the DBMF program include farm owners, corporation, company or cooperative that are already engaged in dairy-related activities and livestock production. Applicants will be subjected to evaluation by the PCC DBMF team.

There is a memorandum of agreement (MOA) which should be signed and agreed upon by both parties (PCC and DBMF) indicating also the requirements mentioned above. The contract generally aims to adopt and pursue rural-based development strategies, and recognize the urgency of developing and strengthening the Philippine carabao industry in relevance to the agency’s mandate.

Moreover, it aims to recognize the importance of DBMF as an appropriate strategy in developing buffalo-based dairy enterprises providing viable opportunities that lead to increased income, higher nutritional status and improved general well-being among participating rural farming families.

“The Department of Agriculture has a P10 million budget to support livestock multiplier farms. One important factor also is the forage development so we, the DA, will deliver 10 sacks of Pakchong 1, an imported variety of Napier coming from Thailand, to this province (Leyte),“ Dr. Wilson Cerbito, DA technical director for research and regulations in Eastern Visayas, said.

Meanwhile, Abela, as the first PCC regional center director to supervise and monitor the first dairy buffalo multiplier farm, expressed his gratitude for and readiness to meet the challenges involved in the project.

“Starting this day, you should have massive pasture development. To all farmers, this will serve as challenge to you. I have mixed emotions toward this project, I am glad at the same time grateful because of the undeniable trust that the management gave to me. I am also overwhelmed because this also serves as another challenge to us. We will do our best to make this first chapter of the Javier multiplier farm a success,” he declared.