PCC trains animal health care assistants

Animal health care services will now be accessible to more dairy farmers in the National Impact Zone (NIZ) of the Carabao Development Program (CDP) with the continuous capacitation of dairy farmers as animal health assistants.

These assistants are selected dairy farmers from different dairy cooperatives in the NIZ with five to 10 dairy buffaloes and who have been engaged in dairying for more than five years.

They underwent training on proper animal health care management conducted by the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) under its Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) program. The training was held August 27-29 at the agency’s national headquarters in Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

The farmer assistants will provide various tasks, such as vaccination, deworming, milk and blood sampling, and other basic services for small-hold dairy farmers in their respective cooperatives.

“The training is part of the efforts of the agency to refocus the provision of direct services to its partner-cooperators into capacity-building,” Wilma del Rosario, Agriculturist II of PCC, said.

Currently, the basic services are carried out by PCC veterinarians and technicians. With more farmer assistants, the PCC’s assistance will be limited to emergency cases only.

“Eventually, we want to form a cadre of trained animal assistants who can help the agency in bringing direct services to more farmers in the rural areas,” del Rosario explained.

During the training, the farmers were taught how to recognize the signs and symptoms of common animal diseases that are found among the carabaos in the NIZ. They are also trained to administer drugs and manage wounds when necessary.

They also learned the proper collection and handling of milk, blood, and fecal samples for laboratory analysis as well as conducting physical examination and taking vital signs of the animals.

During the last day of the training, the farmers applied the concepts they learned in a practical exam at the training center in Digdig, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.

“The training is a great help for me and our cooperative since we have a growing herd of about 220 dairy buffaloes. We really need more technicians to perform the needed health care services,” Allan Benitez, chairman of Simula ng Panibagong Bukas Primary Cooperative in San Jose, Nueva Ecija, said. “This will accelerate the delivery of such services,” he added.

About 50 dairy farmers have already undergone the training in August and 20 more are expected to complete it in September.