With carabao’s milk becoming popular as a health drink, the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) based in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija is making sure consumers get the safest products from the former “beast of burden” through a quality assurance training program for carabao farmers, the PCC said in a statement.
The PCC National Impact Zone (NIZ) conducted a refresher course on milk handling and quality control dubbed “Milk Quality and Safety Assurance from Farm to Milk Processing Plant” late last month at the agency’s headquarters Muñoz.
The training was funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD)—under the project 4 component of the PCAARRD-funded program “Enhancing Milk Production of Water Buffaloes through S&T Interventions.”
Fifteen dairy farmers participated in the training. The dairy farmer-participants were those who own five or more head of dairy carabaos and producing at least 10 liters of milk per day.
“We are very thankful to PCC for coming up with this kind of program for dairy farmers. This will really help us produce good quality milk for the benefit of our business and the consumers,” Emily Velasco, one of the participants of the course, said in Filipino.
The course was conducted because of the low milk quality and lack of skilled quality control personnel in the village-based milk collection centers (VBMCC) established by PCC. According to the organizers, the course was prepared as an additional assistance to the dairy cooperatives to help them maintain the quality of their milk produce during processing.
Mina Abella, the project leader of this component, discussed how to maintain milk quality along the supply chain. Frederick Bacani, PCC project staff, explained the milk quality evaluation and standards including milk sampling, milk quality test, preparation of 60-percent ethyl alcohol and table of specific gravity of milk.
The second part of the course was a hands-on training on milk evaluation led by Daisy Flores, PCC project staff. The participants were asked to perform sampling and platform tests including measurement of temperature, organoleptic, Alcohol Precipitation Test (APT), Clot on Boiling Test (COB), lactometer test, acidity test, and titratable acidity (using pH meter). The participants were also given workshop on proper milk recording such as entering milk test results on a logbook.
According to data provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority, in 2015 carabao milk production reached 712,180 liters, a 3.83 percent increase from the previous year. Total milk exports, which include carabao milk, increased dramatically to 168,320 metric tons (liquid milk equivalent), which was a 142.54 percent jump from the 69,400 metric tons exported in 2014.