Select Sto. Niño farmers gain knowledge, hands-on experience from FLS-DBP

“What makes the Farmer Livestock School on Dairy Buffalo Production (FLS-DBP) stand out from other trainings is that it doesn’t force participants to adopt a certain technology or way but it offers technology options that farmers can use based on their needs and situation.”

This was underscored by Dr. Eric Palacpac, chief of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) Knowledge Management Division (PCC-KMD),in his message during the graduation of 27 farmers who finished their stint as students of FLS-DBP last May 8 at the town hall of Sto. Niño in South Cotabato.

For more than 30 weeks, the farmer-graduates were equipped not only with know-hows but they also experienced application of their learnings. Some of the topics in the FLS-DBP courses focused on dairy carabao raising, feeding and health management, milk and meat processing, and waste management.

“The PCC at University of Southern Mindanao (PCC@USM) is committed to engage in different means of obtaining carabaos that can be loaned out to qualified farmers,” PCC@USM Director Benjamin John Basilio shared.

He also enthusiastically stated that the provincial government is working towards the allocation of fund for a carabao buy-back scheme in the province.

Meanwhile, Dr. Palacpac noted that the farmers will have a sure market since there is now a huge demand in milk as per RA 11307 or the “Masustansiyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act”. Under the law, milk supplementation program was included as a component of the national feeding program.

PCC@USM partnered with the LGU- Sto. Niño in the conduct of the FLS-DBP.  Also in support are the South Cotabato Provincial Agricultural Training Institute, Provincial Veterinarian Office, Region XII- Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Section and the Provincial  Department of Trade and Industry.

The FLS-DBP is part of the PCC’s Communication for Development (ComDev) Campaign in Visayas and Mindanao or “Karbawan”. It is the fourth of its kind in the campaign’s roster of interventions that aims to strengthen the Carabao Development Program (CDP) in the said islands.

Based on the results of Karbawan’s Initial Participatory Communication Appraisal and the Strategic Planning conducted by the PCC-KMD, five target sites where FLS-DBP is included as one of the interventions were identified.

As of May,  116 farmers from four target sites including Sto. Niño, South Cotabato successfully completed the learning modality.  In Don Carlos, Bukidnon, 20 farmers graduated last April 11. The PCC at Central Mindanao University partnered with LGU-Don Carlos in the conduct of the modality.

A total of 44 members of Polanco Carabao Breeders and Raisers Association finished FLS-DBP in Polanco, Zamboanga del Norte last February while 25 Ipil Carabao Farmers Association members graduated in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. The PCC at Mindanao Livestock Production Center and the LGUs of Polanco and Ipil partnered in the FLS-DBPs.

The last FLS-DBP under Karbawan will be held in Iloilo this June.

Other Karbawan interventions are radio plug and press release, school-on-the-air, testimonial videos, jingle, advocacy kit, manual on proper buffalo management of dairy buffaloes, pastillas diplomacy, comics, billboard, and engagement flip chart.

(With information from the articles of Jeson Candole and Dorie Bastatas)