LINGAYEN, Pangasinan: The carabao population in Region 1, particularly Pangasinan, has declined for the last three years ending in 2013, the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) reported.
Benita Pizarro, provincial planning and development officer, said that from a population of 317,073 in the entire Region 1 in January 2010, the number of carabaos is now down to 290,180.
Of the four provinces in Region 1, the biggest decline was noted in Pangasinan as it had 110,268 in 2010 but which was reduced to only 77,794 in 2013.
The statistics was bared during a press conference called by the provincial government thru the Provincial Veterinary Office and the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) of the Department of Agriculture.
Carabao population also declined in La Union, from 32,518 in 2010 to 28,698 in 2013.Likewise, the number of carabaos in Ilocos Sur was down to 17,700 from 18,050.
Only Ilocos Norte registered a moderate increase in the number of carabao population from 24,461 in 2010 to 33,278 in 2013.
The press conference was attended by Dr. Gloria de la Cruz, chief of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), who bared that her office has genetic improvement program (GIP) to raise the stock of local carabaos.
Pangasinan was selected by PCC as a pilot area of GIP as the agency, she said. She wants to make the province the center of the carabao dairy industry in the north.
In effecting this, they are conducting artificial insemination to female carabaos and also bred others with buffaloes of the superior stocks in a bid to improve the breed of local carabaos.
De la Cruz said that in Pangasinan, PCC trained 60 students to administer artificial insemination and are now going around the barangays to inseminate female carabaos using semen coming from the center and using this technique as source of their income
At the same time, De la Cruz hailed the province of Pangasinan for being the only province which has an approved provincial ordinance regulating the sale and slaughter of female carabaos, revetrine buffaloes and crossbreed within the province.
She called on other provinces to adopt this ordinance which aims to protect the carabao, being the beast burden like in the old.
Better still, she said, this should be adopted as a pattern for a national law national legislators so that the whole nation will benefit from it.
De la Cruz said that if a farmer has a female carabao, this is a good source of income and produces milk at the rate of three liters a day for 300 days.
Considering the fact that one liter of carabao milk costs P45, the farmer can easily make P35,000 in a year.This is in addition to the income that he gets when he sells two or three of the offspring of the female carabao.
De la Cruz said this is more than the income that an ordinary farmer gets from his one hectare of farmland per year. PNA