• WB boosts local carabao cross-breeding

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    SAN AGUSTIN, ISABELA: The Wold Bank’s (WB) commitment to provide technical assistance through a newly developed feed component is energizing this town’s crossbreeding of carabaos and boosting its dairy industry.

    Local officials said the project is being done in collaboration with the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) with the assistance of the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

    Mayor Virgilio Padilla said this is only a partial component of a WB initiative to provide technical assistance in partnership with the government, which is expected to make crossbred carabaos produce 15 liters more of milk.

    “We are expecting some technical people from the WB and national government agencies who are coming over the weekend to demonstrate and assist our farmers and stakeholders on the newly developed feed component, which will surely enable our crossbreed ca-rabaos to produce 15 liters more of milk over their current production,” he said.

    Padilla said the WB has also partnered with government agencies and the local government to finance the construction of modern facilities for the San Agustin dairy processing plant, as well as road concreting and construction of milking barns.

    He said the WB has started conducting surveys and feasibility studies to help boost the town’s growing dairy industry.

    “The grant from the World Bank was initially considered during the 9th Nuang (Carabao) Festival where national PCC officials visited the festivities and saw the potential of our town as the crossbreed carabao capital of the Philippines,” Padilla said.

    Padilla said the PCC has already coordinated with the local government here and consulted with local dairy farmers in line with the plan to make San Agustin the crossbreed carabao capital of the country.

    “Our farmers have become experts in the technology of crossbreeding of buffaloes with our native carabaos through artificial insemination and our crossbreeds now number more than 2,000 heads,” he said.

    Padilla said the town’s crossbreeding activities have become noticeable with the growth of its carabao population, as well as the increasing production of milk and other dairy products that are making inroads in other markets outside the province.

    Bearing the seal of the local government of San Agustin, the dairy products are now available in malls like Mart1, Robinsons, Savemore, Xentro Malls and Puregold as well as in the regional trade fairs, Padilla said.

    “This earned for us a recognition by the Department of Trade and Industry in Region 2 as the Dairy Capital of the region in 2012,” Padilla added.

    Due to the advent of modern equipment in farming, the local government of San Agustin took a leap by starting their carabao development program in 1993.

    “We then saw the need for another source of livelihood for the townsfolk using their carabaos, which would be left idle with the advent of farm mechanization,” Padilla said.

    He said they have no choice but to train their people in the municipal agriculture office by sending them to the Central Luzon State University to study carabao crossbreeding.

    “Now our crossbreeding program has involved every San Agustinian, which resulted in the leveling up of our dairy farmers’ economic growth,” Padilla added.

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