PCC-WVSU mounts Cara-cooking, Cara-ugnayan at 5th Semana sang Mangunguma in Calinog

Posted by: RAFIS DA6 | Posted at: April 4, 2023

Targeting to showcase various recipes that use carabao milk and to share the success stories of farmers who have embraced programs on carabao and dairy production, the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) at West Visayas State University (WVSU) mounted a cooking contest and a farmers’ forum on March 3, 2023, at the Semana sang Mangunguma in Calinog, Iloilo.
“Ang cara-cooking kag cara-ugnayan with farmers isa natun ka hilikuton nga pasanyugon nga paggamit sang carabao, una bilang kuluhaan lamang sang input nga pang-arado ukon karusa ukon service lamang sa uma, gani ginaliwat natun ina sya agud mahagan-hagan kag madugangan ang palangitan-an sang mangunguma”, said PCC at WVSU Center Director Dr. Arn Granada.
Dr.Granada emphasized that the growing population will demand more high-value crops, rice, and livestock production and that farmers must learn other value-adding aspects such as processing, manufacturing, and marketing. The agricultural sector may be vital in production; however, processing food that adds value to the raw products is still a challenge.
Consolidating primary and secondary commodities is necessary to secure supply and production. It is essential to look into the value chain of agricultural performance, technological adoption, storage facilities, large-scale production, modernization, and mechanization, like dairy products. Dairy is the second-highest imported agricultural product, Granada added.
Cara-cooking is just one of the many activities conducted by the PCC at WSU to promote carabao milk in the locality and to persuade more farmers to consider dairy production. Bicol express with carabao’s milk and Latik na kalabasa with carabao’s milk emerged as the champion of the cooking contest. Other featured dishes were meatballs, ginataang balut, mango chicken, and buko salad, all of which were added with carabao’s milk, making them even more delightful and exciting.
Meanwhile, members of the Calinog Farmers’ Agriculture Cooperatives (CFAC) shared stories of success after embracing dairy production with the assistance of PCC at WVSU.
Recalling how they started with 15 members, Ryan Carmen of the CFAC shared how difficult it was to sell their dairy. PCC at WVSU supported the coop in all aspects. Mr. Carmen realized the importance of building the association into a cooperative and praised their carabaos for giving them more than enough income. At first, people were reluctant to consume carabao milk as it was yet to be popular with the public. However, their produced dairy has reached different parts of the country. It is being sold for the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) feeding programs. In 2021, these feeding programs became their most significant break, where they supplied a massive volume of dairy. The coop generated a net income of almost P 9 million. From then on, farmer-members of the cooperative felt the impact of raising carabaos for dairy production. Dairy farmers were motivated to produce more. They have realized that carabaos are more than just a karusa or a service on the farm; when proper care is given, they can give milk that can generate significant income.
The cara-ugnayan also showcased the inspiring story of Wilma Capillo, a 𝘣𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘳𝘢, a woman dairy farmer who joined the cooperative and started empowering herself and changing the lives of her family. According to her, before becoming a dairy farmer, her only task was to care for her children and prepare for her husband’s needs. But she aspired to uplift her family’s living conditions. She then dedicated time to learn how to raise carabaos for dairy. She achieved the balance of being a mother, and a wife, while being a dairy farmer. Now, the cooperative has encouraged more women to join the dairy production program, gradually empowering and changing their lives. Wilma became an epitome of a functional rural woman.
Their stories inspired the general audience, even though they may need to become more familiar with how to raise carabaos for dairy. Hearing those stories, everybody agreed on the economic potential it can give to farmers and its contribution to food security.
PC is also celebrating its 30th anniversary as the center mandated to breed and cross carabao based on high-yield Murrah buffalo in the Philippines as multi-purpose animal that can be raised for milk, meat, hide, and draft.
Sangguniang Bayan Member and Chairman of Agriculture Committee Hon. Renato Magpantay, Municipal Agriculturist Gelmina Cartel, and members of the Local Government Units of Calinog graced the occasion. They showed full support to the endeavors of PCC at WVSU and dairy farmers. ###By Maria Corazon M. Buala