Na­tive carabaos do well in niche mar­kets

Agriculture - - Contents - BY MA. CE­CILIA C. IRANG

In the prov­ince of Bo­hol, the “Pro­greso Women and Work­ers Multi-Pur­pose Co­op­er­a­tive (PWWMPC)” sees to it that they con­tin­u­ously raise fe­male na­tive carabaos. They want to have a con­tin­u­ous flow of what they con­sider to be the na­tive carabao’s “spe­cial milk” to sat­isfy the de­mand for mak­ing “milky bread” prod­ucts.

With the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Dairy En­ter­prise Pro­gram be­ing su­per­vised by the Philip­pine Carabao Cen­ter at Ubay Stock Farm (PCC at USF) and the lo­cal govern­ment units of Ali­cia in part­ner­ship with the pro­vin­cial govern­ment of Bo­hol, the PWWMPC, with its 150 mem­bers, was en­cour­aged to go on with its avowed mis­sion as it is seen to be of help to the marginal­ized farm­ers.

This co­op­er­a­tive, which is a big buyer of the raw milk pro­duced by the dairy farm­ers, is en­gaged in the pro­duc­tion of choco milk, choco milk bars, and other milk-based del­i­ca­cies in ad­di­tion to sell­ing pro­cessed raw milk. One of its best­sellers is “milky­bread.”

Ac­cord­ing to Vi­cente Duetes, dairy tech­ni­cian and milk col­lec­tor of the coop, al­though he col­lects the milk har­vest of the mem­bers from their na­tive carabaos and cross­breds, he sees to it that the na­tive carabao’s milk is placed in sep­a­rate con­tain­ers. He knows fully well that a big num­ber of con­sumers pre­fer it for their pro­cessed raw milk and milk prod­ucts.

For their milky bread, the milk is mixed with the flour in­stead of wa­ter and pro­cessed into 10 dif­fer­ent kinds of breads. Th­ese prod­ucts in­clude en­say­mada, cheese breads, Span­ish bread, and pan de coco, which he said sell like the prover­bial hot­cakes.

Duertes said the coop mem­bers rais­ing na­tive carabaos pro­duce an av­er­age of 1.5 liters of milk a day. The coop buys the milk for R45 per liter, and on the 15th and 30th of the month, pays the farm­ers for the ac­cu­mu­lated to­tal value of the milk they turn in.

As the coop is also en­gaged in food cater­ing, it makes sure that their best sell­ing milk prod­ucts are in­cluded among the food served.

“We are cer­tainly get­ting [a] higher in­come than be­fore,” Duertes said. As of March 2014, the gross in­come of the PWWMPC for their dairy busi­ness was R43,327.10, of which the in­come rev­enue from their bak­ery was R32,401 (75%). The coop is also do­ing well in their other busi­ness en­gage­ments.

SUC­CESS STO­RIES Two coop-mem­bers of PWWMPC nar­rated the sto­ries be­hind their dairy­ing ven­tures.

Wil­fredo Mi­flo­res of La Ha­cienda, Si­tio Dago­hoy, Ali­cia, in Bo­hol started milk­ing his na­tive carabaos in De­cem­ber 2014. He cur­rently has six na­tive carabaos: two are lac­tat­ing, three are calves, and the other is a bull which he uses for draft pur­poses. He col­lects an av­er­age of three liters daily from his lac­tat­ing carabaos, mak­ing an av­er­age of R3,000 a month from the milk. “The in­come from my lac­tat­ing na­tive carabaos helps me pro­vide [for] some of the needs of my fam­ily,” Mi­flo­res said.

Imelda Acaso of Put­long­cam, Ali­cia, Bo­hol, con­sid­ers milk­ing the carabaos a fam­ily bond­ing ac­tiv­ity. To­gether with her hus­band Felix and son John­fel, she milks their two na­tive carabaos ev­ery morn­ing at 6 AM. They col­lect an av­er­age of one liter per carabao. They un­der­went proper man­age­ment and milk­ing tech­niques train­ing con­ducted by PCC at USF.

The Aca­sos, how­ever, don’t own the na­tive carabaos; they serve

as care­tak­ers of th­ese on be­half of a cousin who owns them and who of­fered them a shar­ing scheme of 75% (for the Aca­sos)25% (for the cousin) from the milk sales.

Ac­cord­ing to Flo­ri­ano Ber­nales, an agri­cul­tural tech­ni­cian of the PCC at USF, they have model dairy farm­ers for each of the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in their area to en­cour­age peo­ple to get into dairy­ing, whether for na­tive, pure­bred, or cross­bred carabao dairy­ing.

“We make sure that the farm­ers [first] know how to [prop­erly milk] their na­tive carabaos be­fore we lend them pure­bred dairy buf­faloes,” Ber­nales said.

He said that farm­ers’ fam­ily con­sump­tion of milk has been noted to be in­creas­ing as in­di­cated by the num­ber of liters sold. The av­er­age con­sump­tion is now 28 liters of milk of na­tive and cross­bred buf­faloes per day from five mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of Bo­hol, which was a big leap from the to­tal vol­ume be­fore.

“We know that the farm­ers here are earn­ing more than R2,000 [per month] from the sales of milk of their na­tive carabaos alone,” he added.

PCC AT USF TIES UP WITH DSWD As a big boost to the dairy en­ter­prise in Bo­hol, the Depart­ment of So­cial Wel­fare and De­vel­op­ment (DSWD) trans­ferred a R10 mil­lion starter kit train­ing fund to the PCC at USF for the de­vel­op­ment of a Pi­lot Dairy Com­mod­ity Clus­ter Model Pro­ject, to be car­ried out un­der the DSWD’s Sus­tain­able Liveli­hood Pro­gram (SLP).

The DSWD pro­vides the funds for the starter kit train­ing on dairy­ing for 600 ben­e­fi­cia­ries in Bo­hol. Aside from the fund, DSWD is also re­spon­si­ble for the val­i­da­tion of the el­i­gi­bil­ity of the SLP ben­e­fi­cia­ries. On the other hand, PCC is re­spon­si­ble for the pro­cure­ment of 600 na­tive carabaos as the ba­sic re­source for the starter kit train­ing, val­i­da­tion of the com­pli­ance of the re­cip­i­ents with dairy­ing re­quire­ments, and the pro­vi­sion of tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance and for­age de­vel­op­ment.

“The ben­e­fi­cia­ries should have [an] area for milk­ing and for­age, [an] in­ter­est in rais­ing [carabaos], and [an] an­i­mal shed. We will pro­cure na­tive carabaos for cross­breed­ing ei­ther through ar­ti­fi­cial in­sem­i­na­tion ser­vice or the bull loan pro­gram. We will dis­trib­ute the carabaos in six mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and [we hope] that each [mu­nic­i­pal­ity] will get 100 carabaos,” Ber­nales ex­plained. Aside from the DSWD fund, the Bo­hol pro­vin­cial govern­ment, headed by Gov. Edgar M. Chatto, has pro­vided a coun­ter­part fund of R916,500 to in­sure the an­i­mals for one year.

“We re­cently had a meet­ing with [Un­der­sec­re­tary] Emerson U. Palad and it was agreed that the govern­ment will pro­vide funds for the milk feed­ing pro­gram here, which is ex­pected to be im­ple­mented this year. A bud­get of R13 per child was al­lot­ted,” Ber­nales said.

“Un­der the plan, each child will be pro­vided with 150 mil­ligrams (mg) of milk cost­ing R10, he said. The re­main­ing R3 is for… milky bread, [which will also be given] to the child,” he added.

Ber­nales em­pha­sized that later on, the cen­ter will or­ga­nize co­op­er­a­tives with a pure stock of na­tive carabaos in CPG Bo­hol for the Na­tive Carabao De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram.

KESEO PRO­DUC­TION In Gan­dara, Sa­mar, the farm­ers are milk­ing their na­tive carabaos to sus­tain the needs of the niche mar­ket for “keseo,” a kind of cheese.

The newly es­tab­lished Keseo Pro­cess­ing Cen­ter in Gan­dara makes sure that there is al­ways an avail­able sup­ply of the much sought-af­ter “keseo” (also known as Que­seo) by Sa­marnons (folks from Sa­mar prov­ince). There is a big de­mand for this kind of cheese in the area.

Un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Gan­dara Mayor Eufemio S. Oliva, with help from part­ners and the Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try (DTI), the pro­cess­ing cen­ter for Keseo was es­tab­lished to cope with the in­creas­ing de­mand for this lo­cal cheese.

Keseo is de­scribed as a soft, un­aged, home­made white cheese

made from whole carabao’s milk, salt, and ren­net. It has a soft close tex­ture and slight salty taste. Some com­mer­cial ver­sions are slightly sour due to the use of vine­gar in place of ren­net as a co­ag­u­lant. Its pro­duc­tion has long been a source of liveli­hood for many res­i­dents and can be con­sid­ered as one of the old­est home­based in­dus­tries that made Gan­dara pop­u­lar. This white cheese is pop­u­lar break­fast fare, usu­ally eaten with the freshly baked lo­cal bread called “pan de sal.”

Op­er­ated by the Gan­dara Keseo Pro­duc­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (GKPA), the pro­cess­ing cen­ter, si­t­u­ated in Barangay Na­ti­mo­nan has at least 45 mem­bers. Mu­nic­i­pal Agri­cul­ture Of­fi­cer (MAO) Adelfa U. Gabe­jan said that the cen­ter is ex­pected to fur­ther de­velop and upgrade the keseo in­dus­try in the area in terms of pro­cess­ing, pack­ag­ing, pro­mo­tion, and mar­ket­ing of the prod­uct.

Nilo Ar­ma­mento, 49, a mem­ber of GKPA, has been en­gaged in dairy­ing for five years now. He is not sell­ing his har­vested milk; in­stead, his fam­ily pro­cesses it into keseo. He has five carabaos: three are fe­males of the na­tive va­ri­ety, one is cross­bred, and one is a bull.

He col­lects two liters of milk from his lac­tat­ing carabao. His wife Joven pro­cesses this into keseo “cir­cles” 63 mil­lime­ters (mm) in di­am­e­ter. “We [earn] at least R300 ev­ery day from the sales of 50 keseo that we pro­duce. We have… reg­u­lar buy­ers for our prod­uct,” Joven said.

”Keseo” is also a much-liked del­i­cacy in the Pobla­cion of Compostela in Cebu. The Compostela Mar­ket Ven­dors Mul­ti­Pur­pose Co­op­er­a­tive serves as the mar­ket out­let for dairy prod­ucts from the PCC at USF.

One of the sup­pli­ers of que­seo and carabao’s milk to the town is Nen­ito Perales, 72, who has been into carabao rais­ing and dairy­ing for 50 years. He col­lects 1.5 liters of milk from each of his na­tive carabaos.

MILK CANDY In San An­to­nio, Lalo Ca­gayan, one of the del­i­ca­cies pro­duced and sold in the mar­ket is milk candy made from the na­tive carabao’s milk. Ac­cord­ing to Jin­nifer C. Puerco, chair­per­son of the San An­to­nio Dairy Carabao Rais­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, the PCC at Ca­gayan State Univer­sity en­cour­aged them to try their luck in dairy­ing.

“Some PCC [rep­re­sen­ta­tives] vis­ited and en­cour­aged us to form an as­so­ci­a­tion… then helped us [or­ga­nize] and make it op­er­a­tional. They pro­vided us [with train­ing ses­sions] on so­cial prepa­ra­tion, ba­sic lead­er­ship, for­age pro­duc­tion, dairy, and proper milk­ing,” he said. Their as­so­ci­a­tion was es­tab­lished in Novem­ber 2013 with 27 ac­tive mem­bers. “The na­tive carabao’s milk used for the pro­duc­tion of milk [candy] in our town [only comes from] San An­to­nio,” he added.

Since be­gin­ning to raise carabaos in 2005, Jin­nifer now owns eight na­tive carabaos.

Romeo Con­seha, 62, milk col­lec­tor and de­liv­ery­man since 2002, said he buys the milk at R13.50 per bot­tle (the milk is sold in re­cy­cled gin bot­tles that can hold 333 ml) from 23 farm­ers and sells th­ese at the town’s mar­ket. Other en­trepreneurs in the mar­ket also pro­duce milk candy from this.

The as­so­ci­a­tion gets a share of 50 cen­tavos per bot­tle from the milk col­lected and ac­cu­mu­lates av­er­age earn­ings of R2,000 quar­terly. Its cur­rent cap­i­tal is more than R30,000.

Bien­benido Con­seha, 55, is one of the mem­bers of the as­so­ci­a­tion who pro­vides milk to Con­seha. He col­lects 2 liters of milk from his two lac­tat­ing carabaos; this is equiv­a­lent to nine bot­tles. His milk­ing ac­tiv­i­ties start at five in the morn­ing. He is cur­rently rais­ing eight na­tive carabaos, five of which are fe­males, two are calves, and one is a bull.

“I can’t imag­ine liv­ing my life with­out my carabao. My life [prac­ti­cally] re­volves [around] rais­ing carabaos,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Con­rado Du­paya, barangay cap­tain, there are more than 200 na­tive carabaos in their place. He be­lieves that life in their area be­came eas­ier thanks to the an­i­mals.

Cer­tainly, as can be seen in the tes­ti­monies of the farm­ers and en­trepreneurs, the na­tive or Philip­pine carabaos have ben­e­fi­cial roles among ru­ral farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties. It is be­cause their prod­ucts are sought af­ter in their own niche mar­kets.

One of the best­selling prod­ucts of the Pro­greso Women and Work­ers Multi-Pur­pose Co­op­er­a­tive (PWWMPC) is their “milky bread,” which is made from na­tive carabao’s milk. The milk is mixed with flour in­stead of wa­ter and pro­cessed into 10 dif­fer­ent kinds of bread.

Keseo is a kind of cheese made from carabao’s milk. This milk prod­uct is pop­u­lar in the provinces of Sa­mar and Cebu.

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