Entrustment of 10 dairy buffaloes took place alongside the launching of Farmer Livestock School on Dairy Buffalo Production (FLS-DBP) last November 22 at Lusong Suyo, Baclig, Cabugao, Ilocos Sur.
The said activity was part of the provincewide development project called “Accelerating Livelihood & Assets Buildup”, also known as ALAB Karbawan, of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) to support the carabao value chain stakeholders particularly carabao or water buffalo farmers.
Twenty-five farmers of the Northern Ilocos Sur Agriculture Cooperative (NISAC), which are the recipients of dairy buffaloes as well as FLS-DBP participants, were present during the activity. It was spearheaded by the staff members from the PCC national headquarters, PCC at Mariano Marcos State University (PCC@MMSU), and House of Representatives of the 1st district of Ilocos Sur.
PCC@MMSU Center Director Grace Marjorie Recta started off by providing the overview of the ALAB Karbawan project. She mentioned that the project’s goal is to create livelihood and enterprises anchored on carabao-based products, particularly milk and meat.
Also, she highlighted the project’s benefits to dairy cooperatives nationwide as she discussed the income opportunities along the dairy buffalo value chain.
Meanwhile, Florencio Malicad Jr., PCC@MMSU CBED coordinator, presented the farmer-trainees for the 34 weeks training of FLS-DBP. He mentioned that this capability enhancement strategy of PCC would help the dairy farmers to be skilled enough to handle the dairy buffaloes entrusted to them for they will learn important aspects of dairy buffalo management and production.
On the other hand, Atty. Rex Morales from the Office of the Representatives of the 1st district of Ilocos Sur expressed his full support to the project and gave words of encouragement to the participating farmers.
Dr. Caro Salces, Deputy Executive Director of PCC, also delivered a message addressed to the dairy farmers, industry partner, and stakeholders to elicit active cooperation and strong commitment toward achieving the goal. He emphasized the need of the industry to produce higher milk production in relation to the RA 11037 or “Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act”. This law requires the consumption of carabao’s and cow’s milk produced by local dairy farmers to address the malnutrition of the Filipino children.
“A huge challenge to local milk production also paves the way for a greater opportunity among dairy farmers and ‘carapreneurs’”, Dr. Salces said.
With positive response and commitment, Roderick Balino, chairman of NISAC, expressed gratitude for the opportunity given to their cooperative. In his message, he looks forward to the cooperation of each member of the cooperative as a key and contribution to the success of the project in Ilocos Sur.