Aside from alleviating malnutrition among children, market for dairy farmers’ produce was also guaranteed under the joint undertaking of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (DA-PCAF), DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC), and Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperatives (NEFEDCCO).
This was following the signing of a memorandum of agreement among the three parties, which aims to advocate for health awareness in response to the unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the partnership, NEFEDCCO has a sure market for its milk produce as the DA-PCAF procured Php100,000 worth of carabao’s milk (a total of 300 liters) to be used in a milk feeding program for three months, which will benefit 46 malnourished children (3-5 years old) from the select barangays of Talavera in Nueva Ecija.
The DA-PCAF, headed by OIC-Executive Director Dr. Liza Battad, closely coordinated with NEFEDCCO in identifying the recipients for the milk feeding program. It identified 46 beneficiaries in areas with high incidence of malnutrition among children. Other factors such as the feeding center’s proximity to the source of pasteurized milk and availability of cooling facilities for the pasteurized milk were considered in the selection.
This initiative is DA-PCAF’s effort to contribute to the DA’s mandate of ensuring food availability and sufficiency and providing income to the farmers and fisherfolk.
The undertaking seeks to become an advocacy program worthy of emulation by other local government units with milk producers and disadvantaged children.
The DA-PCC, meanwhile, assists NEFEDCCO in the implementation of the project through its National Impact Zone that covers the province of Nueva Ecija under its Carabao Development Program. It also supports the federation in milk analysis and other relevant technical services that will ensure the quality of carabao’s milk product through the DA-PCC’s Carabao Enterprise Development Section.
This effort aims to encourage carabao-based cooperatives across the DA-PCC network to become members of the Agricultural and Fishery Councils as advisory bodies of the DA.
The milk feeding started last June 1 and will end in August. NEFEDCCO and DA-PCC will continuously monitor and provide feedback to DA-PCAF regarding the status of implementation of the advocacy project.