Twin benefits, for day-care pupils and dairy carabao farmers, are foreseen in the milk feeding program launched recently in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija under the collaboration of three government units.
The program, which had its soft launching last November 28, will provide a flow of processed milk to a total of 1,121 pupils, aged three to five years, for four months.
An official involved in the program said it will also provide the added benefit of supporting and promoting the livelihood of carabao farmers as the commodity would be sourced out from the milk yields collected by the dairy farmers from their dairy carabaos.
The undertaking is a joint effort of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the local government unit of Aliaga town.
“This program aims to address the nutritional requirements of day care pupils and improve their nutritional intake as they grow up,” Dr. Daniel Aquino, Center Director of PCC at Central Luzon State University (PCC at CLSU), said during the launching of the program.
The DSWD committed to allot a fund of Php 1,479,720 while PCC will deliver the milk products to the cooperating Day Care Centers.
Ma. Theresa Sawit, PCC Senior Science Research Specialist, disclosed that they have capacitated the Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperatives (NEFEDCO) to provide the processed milk.. It will deliver the supply needed by the children for 120 days.
Armando Silva, provincial coordinator of the sustainable livelihood project of the DSWD in Region III, on the other hand, said that their department is committed to provide continuing assistance for the dairy farmers for their sustainable livelihood source.
‘”Carabaos have very important roles in the lives of our farmers since they serve as the farmer’s capital for their sustainable livelihood,” Silva said.
He expounded that the meat and dairy products, as well as draft powers of the carabaos, are economic opportunities for the farmers tending them.
Futhermore, Sawit further explained that this particular program includes nutrition education for the children. He said where infographics are to be printed out and posted on classroom walls for information dissemination. Teachers will be actively involved in the program as they commit one session per month in their class to discuss the importance of milk in children’s proper nutrition.
Dr. Edgardo Carlos of Aliaga’s Rural Health Unit ensured that the weight and height of the children will be measured in a monthly basis to monitor the improvement in their nutritional status.
The parents of the children, who were visibly elated about the program, expressed their gratitude to PCC, DSWD, and to the Aliaga LGU for extending their help in ensuring the nutritional welfare of their children.
“We are lucky that our municipality has been chosen to be one of the beneficiaries of this program,” Gia Javaluyas, a mother and the wife of Erwin Javaluyas who is president of the Aliaga Association of Barangay Captains, said.