The Philippines can attain sustainability in dairy production with a stepped-up drive of farmers and the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), said Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food.
Speaking before hundreds of farmers from different parts of the country for the PCC’s 26th anniversary celebration at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Villar noted that India became the biggest producer of dairy products through small-scale or backyard producers.
“India became the biggest producer of dairy products through backyard producers.”
“Itong India, ang tawag dito ay small farmers’ dairy. Kaya ang ibig sabihin, sila ang example ng small farmers’ dairy. Nagtagumpay sila, magtatagumpay din tayo (India is an example of small farmers’ dairy. They succeeded and so will we),” the seasoned legislator said.
Farmers who produce carabao’s milk must be able to free themselves from poverty, the veteran lawmaker said, citing the testimony of a certain Malou, a housewife, who now earns some P18,000 a month from carabao (water buffalo) milk.
The housewife, having augmented her husband’s income, has been delisted from the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, otherwise known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), which aids indigent citizens.
“So, hindi na siya mahirap ngayon (she is no longer poor now),” the lady senator said.
She likewise challenged PCC to step up its growth rate as local production reportedly covers only 1 percent of the country’s dairy requirement.
“Twenty-six years sila (PCC), dapat 1 percent a year. So, dapat 26 percent. Eh, bakit tayo 1 percent. Kaya yun ang challenge sa kanila (The PCC is 26 years old now. If its production grew by 1 percent a year, its production at present should be at 26 percent. But why is its production only at 1 percent? That is the challenge to them),” Villar said during a media interview.
Villar however lauded the agency’s efforts to help uplift farmers’ lives.
The senator said she has allocated funds for the PCC’s programs in the 2019 budget.
Meanwhile, Dr. Arnel del Barrio, PCC executive director, said they are conducting research on how to uplift the country’s carabao and dairy industry.
He mentioned “carapreneurship” — coined from the words “carabao” and “entrepreneurship”, which they are promoting to encourage farmers to go into buffalo raising and dairy production.
“We are promoting “carapreneurship” to encourage farmers to go into buffalo raising and dairy production.”
During the event, the farmers were also awarded machinery under the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) program and taught about artificial insemination, calf-raising and dairy operation, silage production and commercialization, waste management and biogas production, dairy processing and marketing, and carabao’s milk soap and lotion making.