ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR, August 14, 2023 – The Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Phase 2 Program granted the Mabuhay Farmers Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Association (MFARBA) Php 1,595,000.00 worth of Carabao Dairy Milk Production Project to scale up food and nutrition development among families and communities in Zamboanga del Sur.
The MFARBA has 25 members, and locals from barangay Mabuhay, Tabina, Zamboanga del Sur. The project package includes 15 head of crossed-breed carabao, 290 bags of feeds, 50 vials of vitamins, and 50 liters of dewormer. It is funded under the FY 2023 SAAD Program Food Production and Livelihood component.
According to the baseline agricultural profile of the group, the farmers are also engaged in coconut, banana, corn, and cassava production; some are rearing small ruminants and livestock and native chickens, while others are construction laborers.
According to Municipal Livestock Coordinator, Mr. Floremor B. Huminig, in 2004, the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Tabina, in collaboration with the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), established Carabao Dairy demo farm project using artificial insemination (AI) to ensure a high rate and chances of successful fertilization and reproduction of the animals. Through this, locals in the area gained experience in carabao rearing for dairy production.
In three (3) years of operation, the municipality of Tabina was recognized as the first supplier of fresh carabao milk in the province. They produce about six (6) to eight (8) liters of carabao milk per buffalo in one day and offer it to young individuals, especially to children in primary and secondary schools. Aside from fresh milk, the local government-operated farm also processed milk products such as iced candy, pastillas, leche flan, and yema.
The provision of the Carabao Dairy Milk Production project was derived from the Beneficiary Needs Assessment (BNA) conducted by the DA SAAD 9 on February 22, 2023, as a response to addressing malnutrition in their municipality.
Likewise, MFARBA has identified the project as a profitable venture considering its nutritional value and the steady demand for milk in the market banking from the dairy demo farm’s prominence within and in the nearby municipalities. Usually the dairy produce are for children’s consumption. Carabao milk has high nutritional protein content and is rich in calcium and other essential minerals such as iron, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, enough to cover malnutrition in the human body.
The FA will utilize 1.5 hectares (ha) of their 2-ha land communal rearing area owned by OIC Municipal Agriculturist, Mr. Joy Pati-an, for the milking production, while the remaining is for Napier grass production for grazing area. The carabaos will be used not only for milk production but also to help the farmers in land preparation and cut expenses on renting draft animals for farm operations.
The association targets to start artificial insemination (AI) in the fourth quarter of this year for milk production. They aim to sell their produce to two (2) primary school campuses in Barangay Mabuhay and hopefully, later expand their market to schools in the nearby barangay in their municipality.
The LGU commits to giving full support to the association to ensure the successful operation of the project by closely monitoring and providing hands-on technical training on Carabao dairy production management.
Likewise, the DA SAAD 9 conducted its Financial Management Training for MFARBA last August 3 to equip the farmers in handling finances.
The FA is also set to receive one unit of freezer and two sets of utensils to complete the livelihood assistance package, which will be delivered within the third quarter of the year.
Tabina, having a 42.7% poverty incidence rate among families based on the 2018 poverty report of the Philippine Statistic Authority (PSA) was chosen as one of the 2023 priority municipalities in the province of Zamboanga del Sur of the SAAD Phase 2 Program. ###
Writer: Ellaine L. Quiamco, DA SAAD Region 9 Information Officer