Carabao-based dairy farming is now a viable enterprise in the Philippines, an emerging industry to address food security and provide income opportunities, according to experts.
Milk production reached 19.5 million liters in 2013, up 5.59 percent from 18.5 million liters a year earlier, Philippine Statistics Authority data showed. Carabao milk accounted for nearly 34 percent of output.
To meet the demand for the commodity, milk production research and development (R&D) interventions and effective strategies to boost the supply are being introduced.
The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) has revealed its Industry Strategic S&T Plans for dairy, with the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) expected to play a significant role in implementing the plan.
The PCAARRD ISP for dairy aims to increase production and meet local demand while lower imports by 2020.
Its R&D focuses on technology transfer through genetically improved dairy buffalo.
Through S&T interventions, the PCAARRD funded seven technology transfer projects across Regions III, IV, VII and VIII through S&T Community-Based Farm (STBCF) and TechnoMart (TM). The projects have a combined budget of P23.9 million, of which 70 percent (P16.7 million) is from PCAARRD and the rest from PCC and other stakeholders.
STBCF promotes wider adoption of S&T interventions to increase productivity and empower farmers. It aims for sustainable supply of raw materials in support of the TM enterprise.
Of the seven projects, three are on-going: Commercialization of Grass/Forage Corn Silage for Dairy Buffaloes in Lupao, Nueva Ecija through TechnoMart; Community-Based S&T Project on the Preparation & Utilization of Urea-Treated Rice Straw (UTRS) as Fodder for Dairy Buffaloes; and Enhancing the Carabao-Based Dairy Enterprise in Magdalena, Laguna through TechnoMart.
The project for grass/forage corn silage for dairy buffaloes is meant to support carabao-based dairy farming enterprises at the National Impact Zone (NIZ) in Nueva Ecija.
Specifically, this project aims to establish private or coop-led commercial producers of silage in Nueva Ecija; and promote community-based commercial silage production as a source of additional income for farmers.
Project leader Dr. Eric P. Palacpac, the PCC R&D coordinator, said corn silage is enriched forage that can help address problems on nutrition and forage deficiencies during lean months.
The three-year project from April 2013 to March 2016) was piloted in Lupao, Nueva Ecija.
A group of farmer-cooperators, whose members were selected due to their significant production of corn forage was involved in the project.
As of September 2014, a total of 397,658 kilograms of forage/silage were produced by the selected farmer-cooperators from about 13 hectares of land. The forage/silage was sold to farmers, private farms and PCC-operated dairy farms. The projected generated a net income of P448, 920.55.
In response to the need of sustainable output and supply of forages dairy buffaloes, the CBSTF intervention was introduced as another dairy technology for the community to adopt.
“Rice straw is forage with poor quality but when treated with the right amount of urea and/or molasses, it will improve its crude protein contents from 4 to 7 percent,” project leader Dr. Daniel L. Aquino said.
“The improvement in the nutritive value will lead to the enhancement of its palatability and digestibility. In effect, this helps increase the feed intake and overall productivity of the buffaloes,” he added.
Three project collaborators were identified: the Kapitbahayan sa Mabini Cooperative, Punla Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and Casile Dairy Producers Cooperative.
To promote the adoption of the technology, the S&T intervention enabled the cooperatives and 30 partner-farmers on producing treated rice straw.
Training and actual demonstration in the preparation and use of treated rice straw were also conducted as part of the technology transfer and monitoring of the project’s adoption rate.
Nine bunker silos were built for treated rice straw production. The silos were equally distributed to the three partner-cooperatives. Supplies and materials were also distributed in the production process.
Ninety-two percent of the rice straws targeted for collection for the first production cycle was achieved.
The demonstration benefited 45 farmers from Nueva Ecija and 73 farmers from Pangasinan. Based on the 2013-2016 plan, the project aimed to encourage 100 dairy
farmers to adopt treated rice straw for their dairy buffaloes.