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©Philippine Carabao Center 2011. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronically, mechanically, by photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owners. Writer and Editor Anselmo S. Roque Managing Editor Khrizie Evert M. Marcelo Editorial Advisers Libertado C. Cruz Felomino V. Mamuad Eric P. Palacpac Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Roque, Anselmo S. Businessing the Carabao/Anselmo S. Roque. – Edited by Libertado C. Cruz, Felomino V. Mamuad and Eric P. Palacpac. – Science City of Munoz: Philippine Carabao Center, 2011. 97p. 30cm. Includes references. ISBN 978-971-748-029-9(paper) 1. Water buffalo(Carabao). 2. Buffalo – Enterprise development – Philippines. 3. Buffalo – Dairy products 4. Buffalo – Meat products. I. Philippine Carabao Center. SF401.W34 2011 ISBN 978 971 748 029 9 Printed in the Philippines

Businessing the Carabao ANSELMO S. ROQUE

Contents Foreword,



1 11 29 47 79


The Philippine Carabao A National Center Attends to the Carabao Upgrading the Carabao Excellence in Carabao-based Enterprises Mapping-out the Road to Success

Foreword As the Philippine Carabao Center celebrates its 18th founding anniversary, we deemed it wise to come out with this book “Businessing the Carabao” to underscore a major pathway toward the achievement of one of the more important goals of the Carabao Development Program. Indeed, having highly “businessized” carabaos in the country – and most definitely in numerous rural farming families whose lives have improved because of the “businessized carabaos - justify all the efforts exerted in consonance with the intent of the Philippine Carabao Act of 1992. This book, however, is not yet a complete documentation of the successes achieved so far but a presentation of how a number of people have made good in enterprises with the hope that others can see the light and follow it for their own sake, their families and their communities. The task of transforming the carabao – from swamp type, which is generally for draft to producers of milk and meat – takes considerable time. Yet, modesty aside, due to the efforts initiated by PCC much can be said and written about the new exciting world of the carabao in the country in a span of only 18 years. We thank the men and women of PCC, the many officials, to include the legislators and administrators who continuously support this program, the farmers who have shown enthusiasm in participating in the program, the entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders for helping this agency achieve the mandate of improving the general well-being of thousands of our farming families utilizing the carabao as the medium. We wish to thank Dr. Anselmo Roque for sharing his talent in coming out with this book on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of PCC. Happy reading to all.


Acknowledgment Right after the publication of “Appreciating the Carabao”, which was my second book in PCC after “San Agustin: Riding High on the Nuang (Carabao)”, in which I was a co-author, Dr. Libertado Cruz, PCC executive director, suggested to me to write about the enterprises involving the carabao. The topic, I know, is interesting as stories about improving the carabao and the carabao-based industry are proving to be very, very relevant today. They touch the lives of people in rural areas who are looking for engines of growth and development within their easy reach. This book, though, is not complete in so far as businessing the carabao is concerned. It is not a documentation of in-depth studies on existing carabao-based industries in the country. At best, it is a presentation of some of the successes of the ventures in businessing the carabao in the country. With this, it is hoped that the readers will see the vast opportunities in considering the carabao for varied beneficial enterprises. We included in this book information about the animal itself and the efforts in improving its breed and about the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) which is the agency charged to attend to the carabao in accordance with its mandate provided by the law. We thought they are necessary especially for people who are just beginning to appreciate the carabao and carabao-based industries in the country. The contents of this book were gathered from books and other publications, interviews of concerned persons, and materials from the PCC. The photos were largely from the PCC files. Without these materials, we could not have prepared this book for publication. We owe a great deal of gratitude to Dr. Cruz to his continued support and confidence to this author and for approving this book for publication.

We also wish to extend our gratitude and thanks to the following: Dr. Eric P. Palacpac, chief of the PCC Knowledge Resource Management Division, Dr. Liza G. Battad, Chief of the PCC Planning Division, and Dr. Felomino V. Mamuad, Deputy Executive Director, for going over the manuscript and giving their comments and suggestions; Ms Khrizie Evert M. Marcelo of the PCC Applied Communication Section for serving as managing editor of this book and for helping in locating the pictures used; Ms. Rowena Galang-Bumanlag, head of the Applied Communication Section, and Ms Joahna G. Goyagoy, staff writer, for their assistance in the preparation of this book; and Ms Victorina E. Alba, head of the Knowledge Resource Management Center for helping locate some references and photos; The men and women of PCC who took photographs of the events in the past and filed them electronically and to Ms Bumanlag, Ms Goyagoy and Ms Marcelo for some new photos, used in this book; Mr. Carlo G. Dacumos for the design and layout; The many persons who were the sources of information used in this book and personnel and staff of PCC who in one way or the other helped in the preparation of this book; To my wife Corazon; children Apollo Jose, Hiyasmin, and Oliver Lee; and their spouses Christie Santiano, Glen Mandac, and Susan Rendon, respectively; and grandchildren Lemuelle, Carlo, Jasper, Mark Angelo, Christian Lee, and Michael whose love and full support serve as inspiration for me to write another book; and To all others who in one way or the other helped me in the publication of this book. I thank the Lord for His continuous blessings and giving of strength and talent for me to write.

Anselmo S. Roque


Businessing the Carabao

The Philippine Carabao


NONE but the carabao, among the animals that were brought to Philippine shores, has carved a special niche in the hearts and minds of the Filipino people. This niche is indelible. Like a star in the firmament, it is expected to become more aglow as many beautiful, significant, and beneficial developments have been coming the way of this beloved of mammals. Understandably, the many roles that the carabao has played and embedded in the economic, cultural, and social lives of the people made it a very important animal in Philippine history. It is regarded as the country’s national animal although no law, like the other national symbols of the country, has been passed to legally recognize it. For one, the carabao for many centuries became the indispensable ally of the farmers in their works in the farm and other undertakings. Without it, the farmers would not have sustained its crucial role of producing the staple food of Filipinos, which is rice. Thus, in a way, the carabao helped to a large degree in feeding the nation. This was true then and it is still true today, which is centuries hence, although not as much as it used to be because of the onset of farm mechanization. Nevertheless, the farmers’ works in the farm will not be as thorough without harnessing the draft power of the carabao to compensate for what the machines can not do on the farm.


In the country’s social settings, a farmer is considered only half-a-farmer when he or she does not own a carabao. The more carabaos a farmer owns, the higher his or her status as a farmer in the community where he resides is. The carabao also figures prominently in such affairs as town fiesta or in sports and, in some instances, in the affairs of the heart of young men and women in which the carabao figures as a brideswealth. In the arts, particularly in painting, any rural setting is not complete without the carabao being included in the scene. For food, its milk is looked up to as a princely menu for a breakfast of

being the “beast of burden” on the farm and rural farming communities. Or, when it is retired from farm works and other chores placed on its shoulders every now and then, it is led to the slaughterhouse or it becomes an important meat for various mouth-watering menus in big gatherings or festivities. Also, due to the diminishing returns of the carabao owing to many factors, one outstanding reason of which is its deteriorating genetic make-up, its continued proliferation on Philippine soil was doubted by many. For who will cast a second look on an important animal whose size and weight have been sliding down over the years?

“steaming hot rice swimming in gleaming white milk flavoured by a pinch of salt” in the farm which doesn’t always happen as there’s not always enough milk for everybody. As it is, the carabao is in truth and in fact not much of a good milk yielder compared with its close relatives in other parts of the globe. In the past many centuries, the carabao was consigned to a fate of just

It was only in the second half of the last century that the carabao merited the full and needed attention of animal scientists in the country. This attention, happily, has reaped full-blown concern for this animal. As it is, a much improved breed of carabao is coming of age in the Philippines and is giving birth to many exciting developments that touch the lives of the rural people in particular and the country in general.

Water buffalo “A farmer is considered only half-a-farmer when he or she does not own a carabao.”


Businessing the Carabao

To the mammalian family Bovidae, and tribe Bovini, belongs the water buffalo which is classified into African buffalo and Asian buffalo. The African buffalo has only one species, the Syncerus caffer Sparrman. On the other hand, the Asian buffalo has three known wild species, one of which is a source of pride of the Philippines. These species are the anoa of the Island of Celebes, the tamarao of the Mindoro island in the Philippines, and the arni or Indian wild buffalo (Alexiev 1998).

The tamaraw, variably called tamarau, tamarou, and tamarao, is one of the rarest animals in the world. Endemic to Mindoro, it once thrived in many parts of Luzon but over time, due to increase in human population, hunting, logging and other reasons, their number dwindled to a few hundred heads only and are found in protected areas in Mindoro. Of the four species of African and Asian buffaloes, the Indian wild buffalo species has been domesticated and found its way in many countries of the world. It could not be ascertained, though, when the buffalo was domesticated. One account said it was highly probable that the domestication of this animal started in Mesopotamia and the valley of Indus, several thousand years before the birth of Christ. Mesopotamia is a region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq, northern Syria, and Southern Turkey. Some 5,500 years B.C., the account said, the people of the place in Southern

Mesopotamia learned to divert the water from the Euphrates River to irrigate their lands for farming. The buffalo was possibly used as the farmers’ work animal. There was another account which stated that the domestication of the water buffalo was started 7,000 years ago in the Chekiang province of China. Whether this animal was domesticated in India or China 5,500 or 7,000 years ago, the certain fact is that this animal found its way in other parts of Asia, Europe, the Near East and Egypt, the Caucasian region of the former USSR, and later in South Africa. It developed into many breeds and was given specific names. Of all the breeds that came into existence, the Murrah is the better known breed of water buffalo in the world. It got its name from the appearance of its horn which is “curled” whose Indian word for it is “murrah” (Tulloh and Holmes, 1992).

Murrah buffaloes, like this one, have curled horn.


Swamp buffaloes have bigger and longer horns. They have two white chevrons, one under the jaw and the other around the chest.

The Philippine carabao That the water buffalo did find its way to the Philippine shores is an undisputed fact. Again, no one for sure can say when it arrived or who brought it in the country. Based on historical perspective, an account said that a long time ago, two land bridges connected the place, which later became the Philippines, to the mainland Asia. It was said the early settlers in the place arrived on foot bringing with them ancient fauna and flora.

History tells us also that the Malays came to the Philippines in which their first group touched shores in 200 B. C. Several other groups came, the last of which was in 1300 A.D. The Malays were said to be fun-loving people. They engaged in many sports and included in their much favored recreations were “carabao-racing” and “carabao-fights”. They developed agriculture and “introduced the water buffalo” as a draft animal. In the Palawan caves, archaeologists found artefacts which indicated that

One of the animals brought by the settlers in this migration wave theory was said to be water buffalo. Another theory was that when the land bridges disappeared, the second group, the Indonesian, came by boat. They lived by hunting, fishing, and, farming. They could have brought with them water buffaloes which they used for some purposes.


Businessing the Carabao

A long-horned swamp buffalo, or carabao, found by personnel of the Philippine Carabao Center in Nagbacsan, Batac, Ilocos Norte in 1995.

indeed the water buffalo were among the animals brought to the country by the early settlers. The artefacts were wooden coffins with animal designs, among them that of the water buffalo. There is also a written account which said that the Chinese colonizers in the Philippines imported swamp buffaloes sometime between 300 and 200 B. C. The color of the skin and hair varies from light to gray. There were albinos which later came out (Faylon, 1996). Recent studies on the lineage of the Philippine carabao indicated that it descended from the maternal line of the Chinese buffaloes (del Barrio, 2009). In time, the water buffalo brought into the country was given a unique English name as carabao. In other parts of the globe, the term “carabao” is not generally known. It is “water buffalo” which is its generic name known worldwide. Who or which group of people in the island gave that name was uncertain. It could be surmised, however, that the word came from the Visayan or Cebuano word “karabaw”, which was apparently from “kerbau”, the Malaysian and Indonesian local name for the water buffalo. The Visayan or Cebuano language is a close relative of the Tagalog language.

The other local names for carabao include “kalabaw” for the Tagalogs, “nuang” for the Ilocanos, and “damulag” for the Kapampangans.

An albinoid swamp buffalo. Its unusual color is brought by abnormal pigmentation.

The carabao is also featured in religious activities.

Undoubtedly, this animal became one of the most beloved animals in the country. This is because it is very much fitted to the Philippine landscape, it being an agriculture country, and therefore very useful to rural farming families. Thus, it earned various endearing appellations depending on which areas of endearment, like “beast of burden” for its being dependable for various types of heavy farm works, “live machine of the farm”, for being a living thing whose performance matches, and even surpasses, what the machines can do in the farm, “walking fertilizer factory”, for its waste that can be turned to organic fertilizer, the “country’s indispensable animal”, for without it, many farm works cannot be accomplished, the country’s “docile and tractable animal”, for it can be easily reined, and many others.


It being a very important animal, it spawned many folklores, parables, legends, and anecdotes. History and events abound acknowledging that this mammal has played important roles in the life and times of the people and the country. In religious ritual, there is one day in a year, which is on the feast day of St. Isidore the Laborer or Isidore the Farmer, in which the carabaos, in the towns where the feast day of the saint is celebrated, are brought in the church yard early in the morning. They, which are usually oiled and perfumed, are blessed by the priest and then paraded by their owners. As far as the safety of the people and their social life were concerned, in a period in the archipelago’s history, which was long before the coming of the expeditionary forces of Ferdinand Magellan who discovered the Philippines in 1521, there was already the “tambuli”. This is an instrument fashioned from the horn of a carabao that produces long and melodious sound. This instrument served as the “bugle” for calling to a meeting the village people and for warning residents of the coming to their area of marauding pirates.

Threatened existence But for all its importance in the economic, social, and cultural lives of the people, the carabaos’ history in the country suffered misfortunes in many aspects. In earlier times, there were indications that the carabao in the Philippines did not prosper much in number and in their breed. In the early 1900s, for example, the carabao population was almost wiped out because of the onslaught of diseases, particularly rinderpest, and the


Businessing the Carabao

Farmers love to parade their carabaos and carts during fiesta celebration.

locust infestations that destroyed much of the vegetations used for supporting the dietary needs of this animal. Only ten percent of its normal population survived the catastrophe. The “New York Times” issue of December 1, 1902 prominently published an account about the sad plight of the carabao. The article was titled: “Dearth of Field Animals. Pest has Almost Exterminated Carabaos in the Philippines. Agriculture at a Standstill.” During World War II, the carabaos suffered its worst fate. The Japanese soldiers suspected that these animals were being used by the Filipino guerrillas in transporting weapons and goods and in aiding the American soldiers. The carabao population in the Philippines was greatly decimated when the soldiers went on to massacre them. About 70 percent of the three million head of the carabaos were slaughtered (Schmidt, 1982).

In the hands of their handlers, the carabaos suffered a fate that is not deserving an all too important ally in many gargantuan tasks and in the drive to secure food and means for sustenance of the needs for his family and other people. The decline in size and weight of the carabaos continued. Its breed deteriorated owing to many reasons, among them lack of quality bulls to propagate good species. It was the common practice then by the farmers to castrate their good bulls as they noted that castrated bulls grow bigger and meatier. The task then of propagating the species was left to inferior bulls resulting to production of inferior animals. Another big factor that contributed to the decline of the carabao population and also its breed was the continuing voluntary slaughter of the animals for the formal market and for family consumption and the slaughter for the underground market by the rustlers.

Earlier efforts indicated that somehow the problem of improving the carabao and its population was addressed. In the mid-1500, the Philippines imported water buffaloes from China. This was repeated in 1903 when some 10,000 swamp buffaloes were imported from China and Kampuchea. In 1917, riverine Murrah buffaloes were imported from India while in 1955, “Nili Ravi� buffalo breed was imported also from India (Cruz, 2004). Still, these efforts were not enough to halt the deterioration of the breed of the Philippine carabao. In recent times, happily, three trailblazing actions came the way of the carabaos. Eventually, these positive developments led to something remarkable that befell the fortune of the carabao. There was this slaughter ban that stopped the voluntary killing of the carabao for food. More importantly, there was this first step in 1973 for a

The carabao is a big help for farmers in transporting their harvest. If quantified, its contribution to agriculture can run into billions of pesos.


A new epoch has dawned on the carabao when the Philippine Carabao Program was launched in 1993.

The carabao has brought new meaning as shown in this acronym.


research and development effort in addressing the breed, population, health, and other concomitant aspects of and about the carabaos. That time, the newly established Philippine Council for Agricultural Resources Research (PCARR) included the carabao as a

Businessing the Carabao

subject for research and development under the beef-chevon commodity. In 1976, a Carabao Commodity Team was formed which augured the giving of exclusive attention, time and funding for research and development for this animal. Five years after, a more intense attention was given the carabao. This was by way of the establishment of an office, the “Strengthening of the Philippine Carabao Research and Development Center” through a proposal made by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) which was formerly PCARR. For ten years, it undertook, among others, studies of the problems besetting the carabao and the institution of appropriate measures to solve them. Six research institutions, two stock farms, and 11 groups of farmer-cooperators participated in the project. In 1992, the Philippine government enacted a law, Republic Act 7307, titled “An Act Creating the Philippine Carabao Center to Propagate and Promote the Philippine Carabao and for other Purposes”. Under this law, the Philippine Carabao Center is mandated to conserve, propagate and promote the carabao

Improved breed of carabaos have brought hope for the farmers for a better future.

as a source of milk, meat, draft power and hide as direct and indirect means of improving the general well-being of millions of rural farming families. Corollary to the enactment of the law, the national government launched the Carabao Development Program (CDP) with the PCC given the task to oversee its implementation. Essentially a socio-economic program, the CDP addresses the concerns on poverty alleviation, nutritional improvement, equitable income distribution, and people empowerment. A new epoch has dawned on the carabao with the enactment of the law. After a very long time, the carabao gained the needed concern and its worth, in giving additional value to what it can contribute more to the economy of rural families and the nation, was officially recognized.

Facts to remember l The water buffalo is divided into two main groups or types – the river buffalo and the swamp buffalo. The former is mainly of dairy type and the latter is principally for use as work animal. l The carabao has special niche in the hearts and minds of the Filipino people, particularly the farmers and to the nation because of its important contributions. l The Asian buffalo has three known species, one of which is a Philippine pride – the tamarao. l Carabao is the name given to the swamp type of water buffalo brought to the Philippines centuries ago. The name is now generally ascribed to both types of water buffalo. l The decline in size and weight of the carabaos prompted the enactment of a law and the subsequent launching of the Carabao Development Program. They are meant to propagate and promote the carabao and for other purposes. l With the enactment of the Philippine Carabao Act of 1992, a new epoch has dawned on the carabao and for the rural families.



Businessing the Carabao

A National Center Attends to the Carabao


PCC stands for Philippine Carabao Center. National in its scope, it was established by the government with no other concern but the development of the carabao. With it, a whole new world was decisively ushered into the life and times of the Philippine carabao. This whole new world for the carabao is purposely not for the sake of this animal alone. In a larger sense, it is for the benefit of the greater sector of society – the teeming mass of families living in rural areas wanting improvement in life particularly in the leap forward from sheer hopelessness to a state where they can expect something more from what they used to do. Thus, the state’s effort to give full attention to the carabao was a deliberate action to manifest two-prong benefits. Firstly, to more than compensate for the centuries of neglect in terms of appropriate care and development for this very important animal. Secondly, to give precipitate move to harness the full potentials of this animal as a very viable option for the improvement of the economic conditions of rural families and in some ways the national economy. A law, the “Philippine Carabao Act of 1992”, propelled the creation of the PCC. Specifically, this law, Republic Act 7307, is titled “An Act Creating the Philippine Carabao Center to Propagate and Promote the Philippine Carabao and for other Purposes”. In its declaration of policy , Republic Act 7307, stated, among others, that “the state shall establish various programs to conserve, propagate and promote the Philippine Carabao as a source of draft animal power, meat, milk, and hide”.


As provided for by that law, the PCC was subsequently established and much has been achieved in so far as attending to the carabao and to the ultimate purposes for which the carabao improvement and development are concerned. And definitely, much, much more have been done and are expected to be done by this agency.

Antecedents traced The passage of the law and the creation of the PCC had antecedents which showed official concern for the improvement and development of the carabao. They may be small steps but


Businessing the Carabao

they definitely contributed in paving the way toward that long journey of enacting the law and establishing the PCC. In the early 1900, the government imported from China and Cambodia swamp buffaloes to boost the stock and propagate the carabao for the draft power requirements in the farming sector particularly for rice, corn, sugar, vegetable and other crops production. That time, which was the continuing scenario for land cultivation in the country, the farmers were fully dependent on the use of the carabaos in performing agricultural works and related activities in the field. Stock farms and breeding stations of farm animals, that included the carabao, were built in La Carlota, Negros Occidental; Ubay in Bohol, Culion in Palawan and later the Bongabon Stock Farm in Nueva Ecija in those early years. Some 5,000 head of carabaos were imported and distributed to the poor farmers. Dairy breed of buffaloes were imported from 1917 up to the middle of

1950. They were Murrah buffaloes from India that were distributed in the stock farms in Nueva Ecija, and Bohol and to institutions of higher learning like the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture and the then Central Luzon Agricultural College. Frozen semen of the Murrah breed were also imported and used to improve the breed of the water buffaloes in the country which at that time had already some crossbreds owing to the earlier efforts of introducing new blood lines of carabaos in the country. In part also, in order to conserve the carabao, the government imposed restriction on the slaughter of carabaos

Research (PCAR) was created. The carabao was included as a subject of research under the beef-chevon commodity. Three years after, a specific team was created for the research and development of the Philippine carabao. Among the first animal experts in the team, named Carabao Commodity Team, who did much works in the studies about the carabao were Dr. Alfonso Eusebio of the University of Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB) and Dr. Libertado Cruz of the Central Luzon State University (CLSU). Subsequently, through the proposal of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD),

unless the animal is already unfit for work. The restriction was provided for in the Revised Administrative Code issued in 1917. The restriction was somehow eased when Republic Act No. 11 was enacted in 1946 that allowed the slaughter of carabaos but on condition that the population of the carabao in the country has attained the desired level. Subsequent legal pronouncements indicated that the carabaos can only be slaughtered when they are at least 20 years old and found unfit for work. The age limit was lowered to 15 years old in 1961 but was raised again to 20 years old in 1966. After seven years, an executive order was issued allowing the slaughter of carabaos which are at least three years old which was subsequently raised to seven years old for the male and eleven years old for the female carabaos. The order prohibited the slaughter of pregnant carabaos. It was only in 1998 when the slaughter ban on carabaos was lifted when the “Animal Welfare Act” was enacted. Efforts toward having a strong carabao research and development in the country had its spark in 1973 when the Philippine Council for Agriculture

whose forerunner was the PCAR, the “Strengthening of the Philippine Carabao Research and Development Center” was established with assistance from

The “Animal Welfare Act” effectively lifted the slaughter ban on carabaos.


Then Sen. Joseph Estrada, author of the “Philippine Carabao Act of 1992” lowers the time capsule for the construction of the PCC buildings (left). At right, he visited the “Tulong Project” in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, accompanied by exSenator Leticia RamosShahani (right panel).

the Food and Agriculture Organization – United Nations Development Program (FAO/UNDP). In ten years, from 1981 to 1992, successful research and development studies were completed by the center which proved to be of monumental benefit to the carabao and the larger sector of the Philippine society. The gains in the early efforts toward the improvement of the Philippine carabao eventually led to the institutionalization of a national program for carabao development.

What the law provides The bill for the Carabao Act of 1992, which was a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1165 and House Bill No. 35045, was finally approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives on February 3, 1992 and February 4, 1992, respectively. Its principal sponsor was then Senator Joseph Estrada who later became president of the Philippines. The approved bill was signed by then Speaker of the House of Representatives Ramon Mitra and President of the Senate Neptali Gonzales.


Then President Corazon Aquino signed the bill into law on March 27, 1992.

Businessing the Carabao

Section 4 of the law provides:

“There is hereby created a Philippine Carabao Center, hereinafter referred to as the PCC, which shall be under the supervision and control of the Department of Agriculture”. In order to make sure that the bloodline of the native carabaos is not lost, the “Philippine Carabao Act of 1992” included this provision: “At least thirty (30) to fifty (50) percent of the carabaos maintained/propagated by each carabao center shall be of the pure native/indigenous stock to ensure the preservation of the Philippine carabao and provide option to the farmers”. For national coverage, and in order to serve and reach as many beneficiaries in the three Philippine major islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, thirteen carabao centers, aside from the national center or

PCC at CMU in Musuan, Bukidnon.

PCC at DMMMSU in La Union

PCC at MMMSU in Ilocos Norte

headquarters, were ordered established. These were directed to be located at the University of the Philippines at Los Ba単os (UPLB) in Los Ba単os, Laguna; Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in the Science City of Mu単oz, Nueva Ecija; Cagayan State University (CSU) in Piat, Cagayan; Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU) in Rosario, La Union; La Carlota Stock Farm in La Granja, La Carlota City, Negros Occidental; Ubay Stock

Farm in Ubay, Bohol; Visayas State College of Agriculture (now Visayas State University) in Baybay, Leyte; West Visayas State University (WVSU) in Calinag, Iloilo; Central Mindanao University (CMU) in Musuan, Bukidnon; University of Southern Mindanao (USM) in Kabacan, North Cotabato; Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur; and Mindanao Livestock Development Complex in Kalawit, Labason, Zamboanga del Norte.


PCC at MLPC at Zamboanga del Norte

PCC at VSU in Baybay, Leyte

PCC at USF in Ubay, Bohol

PCC at USM in Kabacan, North Cotabato


Businessing the Carabao

PCC at WVSU in Calinag, Iloilo

PCC at CLSU in Brgy. Joson, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija

Section 7 of the Philippine Carabao Act of 1992, provided for the constitution of a PCC advisory board. It is composed of the following: a. Secretary of the Department of Agriculture or his/her representative, as Chairman; b. Undersecretary for Regional Operations, Department of Agriculture, as Vice Chairman; and c. Executive Director, Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD); d. Chancellor of the University of the Philippines at Los Baùos (UPLB) and presidents of Central Luzon State University (CLSU), Central Mindanao University (CMU), Cagayan State University (CSU), Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU), Visayas State College of Agriculture (now Visayas State University), West Visayas State University (WVSU), University of Southern Mindanao (USM), and the president of the state college or university where a carabao center may be established pursuant to the Act; e. Director of the Bureau of Animal Industry; f. Executive Director of PCC; and g. Farmers’ representative to be appointed by the board, as members.


PCC gears up

at the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) at the DA compound. A deputy executive director was also appointed. For its lean initial staff, it borrowed personnel from CLSU and BAI. For its needs, like vehicles, supplies and expertise, PCARRD lent a much welcomed hand. Later, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) approved the PCC staffing pattern and provided plantilla positions to the office of the executive director and to the 13 regional centers. Four divisions were created under the office of the PCC executive director. They were Administrative and Finance Division, Project Development Division,

On April 1, 1993, or a little over a year when the “Philippiner Carabao Act of 1992” was enacted, the PCC became operational. Then Pres. Fidel Ramos appointed Dr. Libertado C. Cruz, a professor of the Central Luzon State University and former project leader of the ranch-type aspect of the research project of the “Strengthening of the Philippine Carabao Research and Development Center”, as the executive director of PCC. To this day, he is still the executive director of PCC, one of the only few appointive officials in government whose services and expertise were not disturbed in order for the set programs, projects and activities to go on unperturbed by change of leadership. As there was no immediate budget allocation for the newly established agency during its initial year of operation, the PCC had to scrimp for funds to ease its birth pains and strengthen its legs to stand on its own. For its office, it found space at the Department of Agriculture building in Quezon City, Metro Manila. It later transferred to the second floor of the Philippine Animal Health Center (PAHC)

Project Monitoring and Evaluation Division, and Project Information Dissemination Division. There was no looking back for PCC since then and the move forward started to gather steam in pursuing the agency’s mandate. Early on, Dr. Cruz set the mission of PCC to guide him and the rest of the PCC family in pursuing the agency’s mandate. The mission reads thus: “Improve the general well-being of rural farming communities through carabao genetic improvement, technology development and dissemination, and establishment of carabao-based enterprises, thus ensuring higher income and better nutrition”. This mission is anchored on the vision of PCC “to become a premier institution promoting profitable and sustainable carabao-based enterprises designed to improve the income and nutrition of rural farming communities”. The advisory board, which is meant to help lead the direction of PCC, was created. Subsequently, the Philippine Carabao Development Program was launched by the national leadership to

Upon approval of the Philippine Carabao Act of 1992, all the existing programs and projects implemented by various agencies in the country were transferred to the PCC.


Businessing the Carabao

highlight the government’s initiative in improving the Philippine carabao for milk and meat production. In December, 1993, or just seven months after the operationalization of the PCC, the “Medium-Term Carabao Development Plan” (MTCDP), which covered the period 1993 to 1998, was approved by the advisory board. It entailed a funding cost of P3.4 billion. Among those envisioned under the plan were four major programs. They were establishment of gene pools for riverine buffaloes and native carabaos, carabao crossbreeding in key livestock development areas, enterprise development, and research and development. The plan called for institution of certain strategies. Among these strategies were infusion of riverine buffalo breed and intensification of the national upgrading program, community organization, and technology transfer for enhancing buffalo-based enterprise development. A story was told that when PCC presented its initial budget proposal in Congress, one of the lawmakers asked why there was a need to provide public funds for the sake of one animal which is a symbol of slow drive to progress when mechanization was being pushed for faster production in the agricultural sector. When it was his turn to speak was given, Dr. Cruz explained: “The fund being asked is for a reliable animal which can be used not only for plowing the field but also has the capability to provide milk and meat. Can the tractor or kuliglig which, after feeding it with grass, give milk and meat?”

The advisory board performs the following functions: a. formulate policies, programs and projects for the development of the Philippine carabao, b. review and recommend the annual budget of PCC, c. evaluate the implementation, efficiency and effectiveness of the programs and projects of the PCC, and d. recommend the establishment or abolition of carabao centers as may be deemed necessary.


“Improve the general wellbeing of rural farming communities through carabao genetic improvement, technology development and dissemination, and establishment of carabaobased enterprises, thus ensuring higher income and better nutrition”. 19

The former administration building of PCC

Convinced, the lawmaker moved for the doubling of the allocation of funds for PCC. In 1994, Dr. Cruz convinced Dr. Fortunato Battad, then president of the Central Luzon State University (CLSU), to provide a home for the PCC on the university reservation. Their agreement was met with objections from not a few of the pillars of the university that time, saying, among others, that the pinpointed area for the PCC benefit was a prime natural resource of the university for its agricultural production. But Dr. Battad impressed on those voicing opposition that much, much more benefits can be gained from the land that PCC will occupy, particularly for the intended beneficiaries of the carabao development program and for the generation to come. A 40-hectare area was allotted for PCC on usufruct basis. Along with it, the CLSU ranch in Barangay, Joson, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija, with a total


Businessing the Carabao

area of 1,030 hectares pasture land, was consigned for PCC use.

Capacity building Over the years, in still its relatively young life as a national agency, PCC has developed an admirable and functional set-up that bespeak well for an agency entrusted with the cumbersome task of pursuing a program for a previously overlooked yet very important animal in the country. Along the Maharlika Highway, on the 40-hectare compound given by the CLSU, the PCC complex is a sight to behold and appreciate for its fully operating system for the pursuit of its avowed mission. The complex is home to the national headquarters of PCC and its National Gene Pool. At the heart of the complex is a four-story building which houses the offices of the executive director

A view of the PCC building complex seen along the Maharlika highway. It houses the National Impact Zone office, Office of the Executive Director, administrative offices, the laboratories, conference hall, function rooms, grand lobby and the hostel.

and the technical and administrative staffs. The building also features a big conference hall for local, national, and international conferences and seminarworkshop, function rooms, a mini-theater, laboratories, a knowledge resource management center (library) that provides convenient access to scientific and specialized information and data to various clienteles, a spacious reception hall for public and private functions, and some other facilities for a fully functioning center. Adjacent to the main building is a hostel, a cafeteria, a mini-training dormitory, and the newly established auditorium. Newly established is a Processing Plant and Products Outlet complex. There is also a cluster of housing facilities for many of the staff members. Of big importance to the whole complex is the gene pool where a big number of select animals are kept. Adjacent to the gene pool is a milking parlor equipped with a milking machine

and a work area for the production of milk products. Very soon, a Livestock Biotechnology Center will rise on the PCC compound. This facility will house five scientific laboratories, namely: the Reproductive Biotechnology, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Product Biotechnology, Nutritional Biotechnology, Bio-safety and Environment Technology laboratories. The PCC prides itself in developing highly capable research laboratories. Among these laboratories are: Reproductive Biotechnology. It undertakes research and development activities on the use of modern reproductive techniques to enhance the production of genetically superior buffaloes in support to the overall genetic improvement program of PCC. It is primarily engaged in developing and utilizing recent advances in reproductive technologies.


use of modified Random Amplification of Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers for the swamp and riverine buffaloes, micro-satellite genotyping of the Philippine swamp buffalo and riverine buffalo, Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) detection in buffaloes associated with milk and meat component traits, parentage verification of riverine and swamp type buffaloes using microsatellite markers, and DNA-based methods for rapid and safe screening of bull semen for foot-and-mouth disease. Animal Health. It provides diagnostic services in order to maintain a disease-free environment and

Animal health laboratory

Breeding and Genetics. It undertakes the system of evaluating genetically superior individual animals for milk and milk component traits, maintenance of elite herds of dairy buffaloes as source of breeding animal; and provision of frozen semen from the best riverine buffalo germplasm for artificial insemination. To date, the selection of replacement buffalo cows and bulls at various PCC herds is not just based on phenotype alone but on estimated breeding values as well. These records are necessary for running the dairy Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUP) genetic evaluation software used in breeding value estimation. Molecular Biotech. This laboratory performs the analysis and manipulations of nuclei acids and proteins. It currently conducts research on DNA banking of different buffalo breeds in the country,


Businessing the Carabao

control possible disease outbreak. It performs microbiological examination, antimicrobial sensitivity test, serological testing, parasitological examination, clinical pathological examination, among other tests. This laboratory also extends assistance to researchers and academicians on related issues in animal health and biological services.

DNA laboratory

Animal Nutrition. It undertakes analysis of feed, forages, and other matters related to animal nutrition servicing farmers, researchers, students, and other clienteles. It helps enhance the productivity of the dairy buffaloes, and other livestock species, through improved nutrition and sustainable forage or feed production, conservation, and utilization. It also initiates the development of practical, science-based and cost-effective feeding systems for dairy buffaloes. Likewise, it handles proximate analysis of feed and forage samples to determine dry matter, protein, fats, fiber and mineral contents. Dairy Laboratory. It provides milk analysis for the PCC clients, primarily cooperatives being assisted by the agency. Milk samples are analyzed for fat, protein, lactose, total solids, pH, titratable acidity, and specific gravity.

Genebank laboratory

Village-type Products Development Facility. It develops dairy products that are not only acceptable but are also satisfying to consumers. It continuously searches specific solutions to problems on products processing, packaging, and marketing while ensuring the quality of milk and meat products. It also conducts analyses on the composition and chemical contents of meat and milk products and evaluation of their sensorial properties. Social and Policy Research. This office deals primarily with the social component of the Carabao Development Program. It fundamentally seeks to understand the agency’s primary client, the smallhold farmers and the environment where they exist and operate. Its endeavors are on the collection, organization, and

Biotech laboratory


PCC Executive Director Libertado Cruz (right) briefs officials and guests during the blessing of his agency’s research and training center in 2000.


interpretation of information in the form of research design, data collection and analysis, and reporting. It focuses on social impact studies, needs assessments, program evaluations, and demographic and social issue analyses through the use of effective research tools such as surveys and focus group methodologies. Results of studies become bases for sound decisionmaking and policy reforms at the macro level of the livestock industry. In terms of personnel, from only a handful of “borrowed” staff when it started, PCC has built up a component of 227 staff members. Of this number, 178 are technical staff, 11 technical support

others are currently pursuing their respective graduate degree programs. The pursuit of higher education was programmed by PCC to answer for more competence in various fields relative to the responsibilities of the agency and the technical needs of its clients. For its funding, aside from the funds being released under the yearly budget allocations as provided for under the Government Allocation Act, PCC is able to generate external support from other agencies. Among these agencies are Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine Council of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD),

staff and 38 administrative employees. Only 52 of them are assigned in the main headquarters and the rest in the 13 regional centers. Of the total PCC staff members, 21 are now holders of doctor of philosophy degrees, 32 completed their masteral degrees, 32 doctor of veterinary medicine while several

Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), Livestock Development Council (LDC), National Agriculture and Fisheries Council (NAFC) and others. From the international agencies, like Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Taiwan Economic Cooperation

Businessing the Carabao

Some of PCC’s publications in English, Filipino and local dialects.

Office (TECO), Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) among others, PCC gets also packages of support and assistance. Collaborations with international universities and laboratories, likewise, afforded excellent opportunities for PCC’s staff to hasten access to cutting edge information and technologies at the least cost. For providing technical and popular information, updates, and instructional as well as educational materials, PCC has come out with handbooks, guides, books, magazine, newsletters, and pamphlets that are distributed to interested parties. It runs a web page for a wider audience reach aside from availing of the services of national as well as regional print and radio organizations.

In January, 2003, PCC was certified as an International Office of Standardization (ISO) 9001:2000 compliant agency. After six years, the agency passed another audit by the Societe Generale Surveillance (SGS) for another three-year cycle of certification (ISO 9001:2008).

A number of the regional centers are now moving on toward acquiring their own ISO certification.


The logo of the Philippine Carabao Center and its statement toward the pursuit of a goal for changing lives and nation building.

Technologies, carabao-based enterprises and changing lives capture the essentials of PCC’s efforts as seen in this presentation in a display center of the agency.


Businessing the Carabao

PCC at 18 Eighteen. For a woman, the number is very significant. Reaching her 18th birthday means she is a debutante – which means she is making her public appearance to upper-class society for the first time. Regardless of what class she belongs to, she normally marks the day with a little difference from the celebrations of her past birthdays. PCC is 18 on March 27, 2011. But unlike a debutante, this agency is not blowing whistles nor making much hoot about it. In the first place, it has already made her appearance in public the very day it was born. If ever, it will just be a celebration of its past achievements and the ushering in of another year of continuing dedicated service for the sake of the carabao and the added benefits that it purports to bring to various beneficiaries. To be sure, there are lots of milestones that the PCC can enumerate. In terms of its genetic improvement program, several breakthroughs have

already been scored particularly in the packaging and use of reproductive technologies. Now, it has started initiatives in genetic research specially in looking at DNA markers that can be of big help to the program. In the PCC’s enterprise development program initiatives, sustainable enterprises by smallholder-farmers, have already created remarkable progress in some areas in the country. As people see these enterprises, and somehow feel the benefits of such enterprises, there is now a rising eagerness elsewhere to be a part of the growing number of people and rural families benefiting from the carabao-based enterprises. Now, the buzz word in the countryside is “businessing” the carabao. The PCC is more than happy in helping actualize it. It can be in this area that PCC, in its 18th year as an agency, can make a big celebration different from other years. After all, it is about increasing the income and nutritional status of farming communities and people empowerment which is the end goal of all the efforts for improving the carabao.

Dr. Cruz (center, facing the camera) discusses important matters to his staff in a meeting on the ground.



Businessing the Carabao

Upgrading the Carabao


INDUBITABLY, there was that felt need to upgrade the Philippine carabao if it were to be fitted to the enunciated purposes provided for by the ‘Philippine Carabao Act of 1992�. Not only this animal must have herculean draft power so as not to lose its main attribute that people in the country have known but it must also be a good source of milk, meat, hide, and possibly its other by-products like the horns and bones. Necessarily, it must be an excellent dairy animal which can be a big source of livelihood in rural areas that virtually requires no big capitalization at all. As it is, the Philippine carabao is not what can be described as a generously endowed type compared to its counterpart in other parts of the word. For milk production, its female can only yield an average of 1.5 liters of milk a day. As such, although it has been with the Filipino farmers since time immemorial, it has not spawned a robust carabao dairying industry in the country. Sadly, it is not a wellspring of abundant milk compared to the other-type of water buffaloes found in other countries. The enactment of the Philippine Carabao Act of 1992 was a giant leap for the recasting of the physical attribute of this national animal and the general regard for it. Thus, a national institution, with the able assistance of its nationwide machinery, has been put in place to


of the once lowly- regarded Philippine carabao. In this nerve-center are the infrastructure, facilities, amenities and functionalities for everything that is directed toward carabao improvement, empowering farmer-beneficiaries in carabao management, sharing information about water buffalo improvement and enterprises not only to the nation but interested parties in the world, and other relevant activities. Compared with other development projects, the expected effects of the intention of the law are not that widespread yet. It must be understood, though, that improving the carabao is not and cannot be an overnight job. In the animal kingdom, it takes years to have a generation of an improved carabao breed. Nonetheless, many good things have already gone the way of improving the carabao since the Philippine Carabao Center was established.

Metamorphosing the carabao

A PCC staff at work in a laboratory.


execute what it must be done for the carabao to make it what it should be as mandated by law and generate the most benefit that it can generate out of it for the intended clientele. None, therefore, could stop the dawning of a new epoch for the Philippine carabao. Today, the PCC national headquarters and gene pool bespeak of a worldclass center-stage for the research and development efforts for the improvement

Businessing the Carabao

To metamorphose the carabao into new attributes is a tall order. It is not like putting the animal into a mould and seeing overnight a different animal. Far from it, for what are adverted to as a population of improved carabaos are the progenies of the native carabaos after the animal’s generation of transformation. Upgrading is the handy word for improving the breed of the native carabao. Its genetic make-up is to be addressed and this entails much time, effort and lots of research and development works to do it. To do this, the native carabao, which is of the swamp type, must be crossed

with the riverine type of water buffalo. Luckily, although the swamp-type water buffalo has only 48 chromosomes, or the genes responsible for the transmission of hereditary characteristics, and the riverine type has 50, they are perfect for interbreeding or crossbreeding (Tulloh and Holmes, 1992 and Alexiev, 1998). In the world, the Murrah water buffalo, which was developed and bred in the north-western part of the Indian subcontinent, has become a very important breed because of its high milk yield. Although, there are now many other popular water buffalo breeds in some parts of the world, especially for dairying purposes, there is a very strong

For utilization in the cross breeding program, one of the strategies instituted by the PCC was the infusion of live animals of high genetic value. Thus, importation of quality breeds of riverine water buffaloes was undertaken. In May 1994, 220 American Murrah Buffaloes (150 females and 50 males) were imported and brought to the PCC station at the Ubay Stock Farm in Bohol. In April 1995, 459 head of Bulgarian Murrah Buffaloes (51 males and 408 females) with ages ranging from eight to 18 months arrived. The animals constituted the first herd at the Dairy

Arrival of imported dairy buffaloes and subsequent transport to quarantine area.

chance that they are varieties of the Indian Murrah (Alexiev, 1998). Among these breeds which are said to be the best dairy breeds now found in some countries in the world are NiliRavi, Jafarabadi, Surti, Kundi, Bulgarian Murrah, Brazilian Murrah, and Egyptian buffalo (Alexiev, 1998). The PCC embarked on the arduous and delicate task of implementing a crossbreeding program.


Some of the American Murrah Buffaloes at the Ubay Stock Farm.


Buffalo National Gene Pool. Along with it, 3,500 doses of frozen semen from the elite progeny-tested bulls of Bulgaria were brought in and used for artificial insemination. There were subsequent batches of quality breed water buffaloes that came relative to the infusion program. These included 403 head (49 males and 354 females) Murrah buffaloes in January 1996 which were distributed as institutional herd of the PCC stations in Mindanao, 1,078 head in 1998 (76 males and 1,002 females), and the latest, which are Brazilian water buffaloes, 2,000 head. Many of these animals were entrusted to farmer-beneficiaries for the incubator

evaluation, are sent to the national bull farm. They become donors of semen that is used for the artificial insemination program in different parts of the country. As these elite animals produce calves, they also provide milk which are processed and sold to consumers. Some of the animals are also sold for breeding and culling purposes. Aside from the elite animals kept at the NWBGP, herds dedicated to the conservation and improvement of the Philippine carabao are maintained in two PCC regional centers (PCC at CSU, Piat, Cagayan and PCC at USF, Ubay, Bohol), a satellite station in Isabela State University (ISU), Echague, Isabela;

dairy modules. At the PCC National Water Buffalo Gene Pool (NWGP), close to 500 head of elite riverine buffaloes, which were selected for their genetic potential for milk production, are maintained. These animals are sources of replacement female breeders and bulls. The latter, after their thorough selection and

and the community in Villa Rey, Piat, Cagayan. The community herd in Villa Rey is maintained by the Kabarangay Cooperative which is being assisted by the PCC. It serves as a way of genetic conservation in a community which is traditionally an agricultural area that makes use to a large extent the services

Businessing the Carabao

of the native carabaos for farming activities. In the Ubay Stock Farm, the PCC at USF maintains a herd of native buffaloes. The center, which has been designated as the conservation center of Philippine carabao, has about 100 native carabaos in its herd. Many of its bulls have been loaned out to farmer-beneficiaries under the PCC bull loan program in Central Visayas. The efforts in maintaining and propagating select native carabaos are in keeping with the intent of the law which, while it directs to improve the Philippine carabao, also mandates “to maintain and propagate pure native or indigenous stock to ensure the propagation of the Philippine carabao and provide option to the farmers�. The PCC at USF also maintains close to 300 head of American Murrah Buffaloes which were brought in from Arkansas, USA between 1994 and 1998. These animals are meant to improve the meat potentials of the native carabaos. The American Murrah Buffalo breed is said to combine the growth potentials of the Jafarabadi breed with that of the Indian buffalo and the swamp buffalo of Guam. In so far as the conservation of Tamaraw (Tamaraw mindorensis), a species within the buffalo family and found only in the Philippines, PCC is fully supporting the Tamaraw Conservation Program. In fact, a field survey was conducted in Mindoro Island, the animal’s habitat, after getting a permit for the protected Area Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The field survey was endorsed by the provincial government of Occidental Mindoro for approval by authorities concerned. The survey was one of the series of steps to be implemented in conserving

The imported water buffaloes in the quarantine site.

Dairy water buffaloes in the holding area of PCC at Cagayan State University.

and protecting this animal from being extinct.

Artificial insemination The female carabao is known to be sluggish in its reproductive capabilities compared to other animals. In the first place, it is only usually capable of giving birth to a calf in a calving interval of 18 months to two years. Twinning or multiple births are possible among the female carabaos but are very rare. Also minus factors for reproduction, due to the peculiar characteristics of the


PCC maintains a National Bull Farm in Barangay Joson, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija. Photo above is one of the buildings housing the semen processing laboratory.


female carabao in reproduction, are the difficulty of determining when it is in heat or in estrus and, when it becomes in heat, the non-availability of a bull for the natural mating. The farmers are thus in a predicament on when to bring in the bull to impregnate their carabaos. One of the techniques for the mass propagation of upgraded carabaos is artificial insemination. To date, this method, which has been perfected over the years in Philippine setting, is applied nationwide by PCC thru various strategies. Artificial insemination or AI is one of the techniques developed by experts knowledgeable about the sperm physiology. Since the early 1900s, they were already conducting researches to develop a means by which the propagation of superior animals can be hastened thru artificial technique. India succeeded with its experiment on the use of artificial insemination for water buffaloes in 1939. From one community, the use of the technique was

Businessing the Carabao

carried out in the different water buffalo farms in that country (Toelihere, 1975). In the country, the use of AI in carabaos was carried out under the program “Strengthening of the Philippine Carabao Research and Development Center� whose ranch-type production aspect was assigned to CLSU. Some of the people who were trained and carried out the AI project that time (1981 and onward) eventually became officials of the PCC and the site and some of the facilities used then eventually became properties of the PCC. The first attempt at AI in the country was with the use of imported semen of Murrah buffalo from India. It proved costly, however. The cost per dose was US$10 and the motility of the frozen semen was found to be ranging from only 15 to 30 percent. This rather unsuccessful and costly effort resulted in the decision to send for training in pregnancy diagnosis, artificial insemination, and semen processing two people involved in the program. In due

time, the team in the project site in the Digdig Ranch in barangay Digdig (now barangay Joson) in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija was scoring successes in collecting semen from the trained Murrah buffalo bulls in the ranch, in processing the collected semen, and in packaging (in styro boxes with ice) doses of semen for AI treatment to identified beneficiaries in some towns in Nueva Ecija. At first, the semen processing laboratory consisted only of a few pieces of equipment and facilities like a microscope, artificial female sex organ, slides, cover slips and thermometer. But when Dr. Felomino Mamuad, one of the two personnel sent abroad for training earlier, and another personnel from UPLB were sent for specialized training for 45 days in Pakistan, the complexion of the laboratory changed. Semen processing equipment and additional pieces of equipment needed by the laboratory were procured and installed. An expert from the Punjab Agricultural University and another from Japan also assisted the team in acquiring the needed knowledge and skills in semen collection and processing. Subsequently, three members of the semen processing

Processed buffalo bulls semen is placed in French plastic straws. Each straw contains 0.5 milligram of semen.

One of the quality bulls at the National Bull Farm that donates semen for artificial insemination.

team were sent to Japan for a ten-month training. All told, the needed expertise in semen collection, processing, packaging, storage and other aspects were acquired that made it possible for the conduct of a nationwide artificial insemination program for the water buffalo. In1990, the first edition of the Semen Processing Laboratory Manual was written and published by the team. The semen processing laboratory in the National Bull Farm of the PCC in


Some of the bulls loaned out by PCC under certain terms and conditions.

Barangay Joson is now fully equipped and manned by highly trained personnel. Semen is collected from the donor bulls two times a week, with each bull capable of donating about six to ten French plastic straws of 0.5 milligram of semen each. The laboratory undertakes the delicate task of evaluating the motility of the collected semen, processing, putting and sealing it in plastic straw, and storing it in liquid nitrogen tank. The bull farm has at least 50 sires of elite breeding values which are donating semen for the AI program of PCC. Another bull farm, though in smaller scale, was also put up at the PCC at UPLB. Together, they ensure continuing supply of frozen semen for the AI program of the PCC. The doses of frozen semen are transported to the different parts of the country to inseminate breedable female carabaos with the use of an artificial insemination gun. The PCC technicians use the technology on


Businessing the Carabao

estrus synchronization to induce the female carabaos to become in heat at the same time. Through this means, the crossbreeding program in the villages, where the native carabaos owned by the farmers are located far apart from each other, is carried out in rather brisk and less cumbersome means. Thousands of cryopreserved doses of semen placed in plastic straws are currently stocked at the PCC semen bank to be retrieved anytime for use in the breeding program. It is this AI program which serves as the backbone of the PCC crossbreeding and backcrossing project. Thru it, the PCC is able to gift the farmers with crossbreds that over time can attain 87.5: 12.5 purity (Murrah: native carabao ratio) in breed. From 1983 up to the end of the “Strengthening the Philippine Carabao Research and Development Project� in 1991, the bull farm was able to produce close to 67,000 straws of frozen and

liquid semen of 0.5 ml per straw. From 1993, when the PCC started operating, up to the present, close to a million straws of frozen and liquid semen have been produced by the PCC’s national bull farm and the farm at PCC at UPLB. Most of these doses of semen were distributed to various PCC regional centers, to local government units, other research agencies and other clients especially those availing of the benefits of the Unified National Artificial Insemination Program (UNAIP) of the government and were used for AI services. The bull farm keeps in storage doses of semen for future use for AI service and for future reference and research works. No doubt, there are now several hundred thousands of crossbred carabaos in the hands of the farmers and some entrepreneurs keeping their stocks at semi-commercial level. And they continue to grow in number as the AI project continues without let-up.

Bull loan program For sure, nothing beats the bull in so far as reproduction is concerned. This truism is recognized by the PCC only that because of the difficulty in hastening reproduction of improved breed of carabaos, other means are employed. As a strategy for producing improved breed of carabaos, the PCC has embarked on an institutionalized bull loan program. Under this program, thoroughly selected bulls of great breeding values are loaned out to pre-qualified farmerrecipients. The farmer-recipients are obliged to take care of the animal and make it available for natural mating with either the native carabaos or crossbreds in the neighborhood. In the 2009 report of PCC, a total of 126 purebred breeding

A farmer signs agreement under PCC’s Bull Loan Program.

In the 2009 report of PCC, a total of 126 purebred breeding bulls was loaned out to qualified farmer-recipients. This number brought to 1,258 the number of bulls already loaned out to farmer-beneficiaries.

bulls was loaned out to qualified farmerrecipients. This number brought to 1,258 the number of bulls already loaned out to farmer-beneficiaries. Of this number, the report said, 609 have been actively providing breeding services for native and crossbred carabaos in various villages.

Reproductive biotechnologies There are lots of exciting prospects in livestock biotechnology in the country. Dr. Libertado Cruz, PCC executive director, puts them succinctly in his paper


A process flow of the invitro embryo production and transfer technology.


“Prospects of Livestock Biotechnology in the Philippines” presented at the Livestock Summit in September, 2009 at the Albay Astrodome in Legazpi City, Philippines. Among others, he said: “Livestock biotechnologies are generally aimed at improving animal productivity through techniques for enhancing genetic potentials, improved nutrition and nutritional utilization, animal health and welfare, and enhanced reproduction. Biotechnology can also be of utility in improving quality and safety of animal-derived foods as well as reduced waste through efficient usage of resources. More interesting

those DNA-based technologies and genetic modification and stem cells have medium-to long term impacts. “… Application of biotechnologies in the Philippines is a recent development, except for artificial insemination as applied commonly to swine, cattle, and water buffaloes… DNA-based techniques are also of recent application and are confined on development of diagnostic kits for major animal diseases and markers. Strengthening of the R & D infrastructure, equipment, and human resource capability on livestock biotechnology is currently aggressively pursued.” It is interesting to note that since the

biotechniques in animals have also covered concerns on improving human health as in the case of gene pharming and xenotransplantation. Most of the advanced reproductive biotechniques would have short-to medium-term impact on the livestock industry whereas

early start of its operation, PCC started harnessing reproductive biotechnologies in the genetic improvement of the water buffaloes. Among these biotechnologies are Multiple Ovulation and Embryo Transfer (MOET), In Vitro Embryo Production

Businessing the Carabao

(IVEP), Vitrification, Ovum Pick-up (OPU); Semen Sexing, and Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT). Briefly, here’s a description of each of these biotechnologies: Multiple Ovulation and Embryo Transfer. The PCC, starting in the early 1990s, initially focused on a reproductive biotechnique called Multiple Ovulation and Embryo Transfer (MOET) technology. Consequently, the first embryo-transfer (ET) calf was born of a native carabao and a riverine Murrah buffalo. This technology proved that the Philippine water buffalo can be used as a recipient to propagate the elite purebred dairy-type Murrah buffalo with good genetic traits specifically for milk and meat production. Multiple ovulation is performed on a female buffalo selected for her superior pedigree or genetic traits. The animal is superovulated using hormones to induce

The PCC scientists averred that embryo transfer can aid in genetic improvement one step ahead than the AI. production of several eggs. These eggs are fertilized in vivo, that is, through artificial insemination. The embryo is normally collected thru non-surgical method from one donor female carabao and then transferred to a surrogate dam whose estrous cycle is synchronized with the age of the embryo. However, the MOET technique in buffalo proved inefficient in that only few embryos could be harvested per donor per superovulation regime. Embryo harvest per treatment and collection was only about 1.9 embryos per treatment.


This calf embraced by the farmer-owner of the surrogate mother carabao is the first “test-tube carabao� or a carabao produced out of the embryo transfer technique.

The first carabao twins in the twinning experiment of PCC scientists.


In Vitro Embryo Production and Vitrification. A promising alternative to MOET, the In Vitro Embryo Production (IVEP) is seen as an option to fast-track the propagation of elite germplasm in buffaloes. This technique involves the collection of immature oocytes or egg cells from two to eight mm follicles of slaughtered animal. The recovered immature oocytes

Businessing the Carabao

are matured in vitro in carbon dioxide incubator. The matured oocytes are then fertilized with frozen semen from genetically superior bulls and transferred non-surgically to the recipient dam. After establishing the protocol for the IVEP system, and upon scoring a breakthrough in the vitrification of the embryo, the Philippine government initiated efforts to further refine the techniques on in vitro-derived embryos. This necessitated the establishment of a satellite embryo laboratory in India. The laboratory, established in 2001, was set-up in collaboration with the Frigorifico Allana Limited located in Aurangabad, India, a giant company that exports buffalo meat around the world and has modern slaughterhouse facilities. The objective of the project was to harness the vast genetic resources found in the slaughterhouses in India. The embryos produced from the in vitro-fertilized eggs processed in India are vitrified, flown to the Philippines in liquid nitrogen tanks, and transferred to appropriately selected dams.

The calves produced out of this technique had emerged being popularly labeled as “test-tube” carabaos. Vitrification. This is a technique in cryopreservation which means freezing of the object to low sub-zero temperature without the use of conventional embryo freezing machine. It prevents the damage in the cells caused by crystal formation. This procedure uses cryoprotectants that make water harden like glass without crystallizing. The breakthrough scored by the PCC in this technique, called ultra-rapid vitirification of embryos, made possible the cryopreservation of the embryos

through Embryo In Vitro ProductionVetrification-Transfer Technique” was “Glory”. She was born on April 5, 2002 and was hailed at once as the world’s first progeny out of the in vitro-derivedvitrified-thawed-transferred water buffalo embryo technique. She was named “Glory” in honor of then Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo whose birthday fell on that day “Glory” was born. “Glory” was followed by “Fidel”, “Cory” and “Erap” days apart of each other at the PCC Gene Pool. They were followed by “Pat”, “Liberty”, “Irfan”, “Sharma”, “Shuttarri”, and “Karvir”. The last four were products of the field

in simple, practical manner. Further improvement of this technique made it possible for the production of water buffalo embryos in another country and their transport to the country in preserved form. The first offspring in the project called “Propagation of Riverine Buffaloes

application of the techniques. They were named as such in honor of the persons who have done excellent contributions for the cause of carabao improvement in the country. “Fidel”, “Cory”, and “Erap” were from the popular names of former presidents of the Philippines, Fidel Ramos,

Another calf, developed out of in vitro production and vitrification technique, is shown by the farmer-owner of the mother carabao. The calf, which was born in February 2011 in Mapangpang, Lupao, Nueva Ecija, now belongs to the elite circles of test-tube carabaos developed in the field application of the technique.


television program due to their good performances as dairy animals. Ovum Pick-up. The utilization of the traditional IVEP technique has limitations due to the absence of pedigree record in slaughter animal-derived oocytes. In OPU technique, the oocytes are collected from superior donor water buffalo in vivo (a procedure done inside a live animal) with the aide of an ultrasound guided needle. The oocytes are collected from the follicles in the ovaries by aspiration or sucking, then matured in the laboratory for 24 hours, and fertilized and cultured for seven days before being transferred to prepared recipients or frozen for use at a later date. The technology aims to retrieve repeatedly Cumulus Oocytes Complex (COC) from animals of high genetic merit. One of the advantages of the OPU is the collection of a huge number of oocytes from a wide array of live donor animals regardless of their reproductive stage.

Cryo-preservation technique in PCC.


Corazon Aquino, and Joseph Estrada, respectively. “Pat” was named after Dr. Patricio Faylon, PCARRD executive director; “Liberty” after PCC executive director Dr. Cruz; and “Irfan”, “Sharma”, “Shuttari”, and “Karvir” after Indian personalities who helped much in certain PCC projects. A number of other live births were born out of this technique in villages in which the surrogate mother carabaos are owned by the farmers. These test-tube carabaos are now the toast-of-the-town and some have been featured in national

Businessing the Carabao

Cryobanking. The technology of cryopreservation is seen as an important tool in assisted reproductive biotechnology because of its ability to preserve animal genetic resources for an indefinite period of time. The genetic conservation of animal germplasm is a very important process in storing these resources from superior animals which may be of value in the future for utilization in breeding programs. Currently, the PCC utilizes cryopreservation as a complementary tool for the production of embryos through the IVM/IVF technique. The objective of the technique is to obtain a considerable number of oocytes from all practicable sources for immediate or future use in genetic improvement.

Cryobanking is significant because of its potent use in conserving animal genetic diversity, including species facing eminent danger toward extinction. Genetic materials that can be cryopreserved include semen, oocytes, embryos, and somatic cells. Semen Sexing. PCC scientists currently explore the feasibility of sexsorting of semen for the product and the pre-determined sex of the embryo in vitro or live animals for use in AI. For the production of predominantly female calves through AI, this technique intends to boost milk production in the country. It is done with the use of a flow cytometer. This instrument, developed in

the 1980s, separates the X and Y sperm effectively without damaging the sperm. Sex-determined semen can be used to breed dairy heifers through AI and IVF.

Thru the wonders of PCC’s reproductive biotechnologies, a riverine water buffalo is produced by a swamp buffalo.

Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT). One of the most fascinating and sophisticated reproductive biotechnologies that PCC pursues is technically called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) or popularly known as “cloning”. For sometime, cloning has been an issue that troubled more than fascinated humans. It presented enumerable ethical implications, such as the application of the technology into human medicine, which to some extent impeded research efforts in cloning.


Research and development activities for carabao improvement and development of carabaobased enterprises go on.

The modern times, however, have provided some forms of leniency in terms of delivering the science of cloning. It provides for a unique opportunity to propagate genetically superior animals from cells that have undergone specialization. Essentially, cloning is one of the most aggressive procedures that hasten the genetic improvement program through generation of an identical clone of a super buffalo. Theoretically, precise copies of the super buffalo can be produced a thousand-fold from a somatic cell tissue. In the cloning technique of PCC, it involves the transfer of genetic material from a somatic cell of a superior buffalo, which is derived from its ear skin, to a matured and enucleated oocyte.


Businessing the Carabao

Enucleation is done through the removal of the nucleus from the oocyte through micromanipulation. The removed nucleus is replaced with a nuclear material from the donor cell.

Promising DNAbiotechniques As PCC strides out of the boundaries of the carabaos, as this center was designated as the lead agency in DA Livestock Biotechnology Program through Administrative Order No. 9, series of 2008, DNA-based biotechnologies are now being refined. These include DNA marker assisted selection allowing more accurate and

precise means of selecting the best animals without need to wait for the animals to become mature. Selection can be done even at birth of the animal. For example, an animal can be selected at birth for milk production without waiting the animal to grow and produce naturally. DNA markers can also be used for determining parentage and breed of the individual animals. Also, they can be suitably used for products and are becoming relevant as developments are gearing toward export of animal products. Also, as the country has become foot-and-mouth-disease-free country, screening for genetic defects in all imported animals and existing breeders is a very important technology of recent development. This allows identification of the presence of genetic defects in animals even in samples of semen, embryos and blood. This technology, therefore, can help much in preventing the propagation and massive production of defective animals that has effect on productivity and product quality. It can be said that as time goes on, and the initiatives and efforts are increasing, the great push toward improving the carabao has been bearing good results. Much, much more are expected to come and manifests in this aspect as the years march on and PCC goes full steam ahead.

For PCC, carabao development needs various technologies to attain desired successes.



Businessing the Carabao

Excellence in Carabaobased Enterprises


IN the checkered world of subsistence farming, in which day-to-day existence of families is characterized by almost deprived conditions that include thinning hope for achieving a brighter future, possessing material objects of significance is reason enough to enliven the spirit. One such person in that light is Marcelino Manera of Barangay Sta. Barbara, Piat, Cagayan. He owns a female native carabao which he uses whenever he is hired for plowing activities in the locality. He gets paid P450 for three days of work. But that kind of work comes only during the planting season. Money for livelihood in that kind of work comes only every now and then and not enough to support his family. In the early 1990’s, his native carabao was artificially inseminated by a technician of the PCC in Cagayan. Subsequently, it gave birth to a female crossbred. When he first laid eyes on that offspring, there was a sudden tug of happiness in his heart as he readily determined, using as a standard the usual calf he used to see in his community, that it was decidedly bigger. Over the years, he saw the birth and growing up of seven more upgraded carabaos. They were much better than his first crossbred calf. He was told that they were products of backcrossing. He sold five of them when they were a year old for which he earned from Php12,500 to Php 15,000 each. “They surely provided hefty income for us,� Manera was quoted as saying then.


Pregnancy diagnosis of a breedable water buffalo.


Similar to Manera’s experience was that of couple Henry and Rosita Turingan, also from Manera’s village. At first, Henry was reluctant to submit his female native carabao for the AI service as he wrongly entertained the belief that he will own later a crossbred whose bloodline includes that of the Murrah buffalo breed which is “wild and difficult to handle”. He consented later when he was given right information about it. Rosita later said that the first offspring of their native carabao given AI service became a saving grace in her difficult times. She said she sold it, which was at 15 months old, at Php 18,000, and used the money for the needs of their son who was taking up a course in college. Their second upgraded buffalo was also sold and the money went to the education of their son who eventually finished a Bachelor of Science in Radiology degree. Several other farmers in Barangay Sta. Barbara, which is a pilot village for AI service in Piat town, eventually owned crossbreds. Most of them attested that when they used the animals for work in the field, they were comparatively better

Businessing the Carabao

and can pull carts loaded with 15 sacks of rice easily compared to the native’s capability of pulling carts loaded with eight sacks of rice only. They also said the crossbreds don’t get tired easily even if they work up to the late hours of the morning. Most importantly, they said the crossbreds have become sources of big money either by selling the animals or by selling the milk that they get daily from the females of their decidedly better carabaos. Not only in Cagayan province where the PCC at Cagayan State University (PCC at CSU) assiduously carried out a massive AI project. Other provinces in Northern Luzon, which are within the Region II provincial groupings, were also included in the project. They were the provinces of Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Apayao and Kalinga. In 2004, based on a documentation published in the book “Changing Lives: Beyond the Draft Carabao”, center director Frank Rellin of PCC at CSU, said that 1,098 crossbreds were produced out of the AI services. The animals did not only become sources of pride by the farmers, as they are “a lot more beautiful and better”, but also of ready money and better draft power for them. Also in the northern part of the country, in Ilocos Norte, the PCC AI project was carried out starting in 1995. In 2005, based on documentations made, a total of 1,587 crossbreds were produced in that province. The number is 78 percent of the total 2,021 crossbreds in the two other provinces of Ilocos Sur and Abra which are under the service area of the PCC at Mariano Marcos State University in Batac, Ilocos Norte.

Carabao ranching In three mountainous villages in Ormoc City in Mindanao Island, a 680-hectare was established as a cattle ranch. Named MR Ranch, it was put up in 1952 by spouses Melchor Sr. and Rita Larrazabal, for leisure and profit. They were then breeding and raising Brahman cattle. The stock grew to 300 but upon determining that the ranch could be used for raising another kind of animal, they eventually took in native carabaos. They said the carabaos are easier to manage than the cattle and they seemed to be happier animals as manifested by their cheerful demeanor when it rains. They also said that carabao milk is better than the milk from cattle particularly as to its smell and nutritional content. The meat of the carabao, they also pointed out, is preferable as it is delicious especially if it is sinugba (roasted ). In 1999, the couple, who were then in their 70s, bought 50 native carabaos from various places in the province of Leyte. Then they applied, and later qualified, to receive under the Bull Loan Program two Bulgarian Murrah Buffalo (BMB) bulls from the PCC at Leyte State University.

After six years, the carabao stock grew to 300 which are mostly crossbreds, of which some had gone up to 75: 25 crosses of BMB and Philippine carabao. Some of the crossbreds, especially the males, were sold as yearlings to meat shops in the city, or were slaughtered by the family as “it loves to cook and eat” carabao’s meat and because many residents also sent notice that they like to buy carabao’s meat. The milk harvested daily was made into pastillas which were sold to customers who have become fond of the product. The Larrazabals have seven children, one of whom is now managing the ranch. In Talavera, Nueva Ecija, two persons made good in carabao raising and dairying. They are Jaime Ramos and Danilo Fausto. Ramos, of Barangay San Ricardo, is a holder of the degree Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Communication and briefly worked as a radio engineer in Makati City. He decided that a better life awaits him in the farming community in their village where his father and his siblings were working in a farm estate. He became a member of

Carabao ranching in Libagong, Milagio in Leyte in early 2000.


Put up in 2000, the DVF Dairy Farm in Talavera, Nueva Ecija continues to flourish.


the workforce in the family. Due to the implementation of the government’s Land Reform Program, the lands belonging to the estate were distributed to the former tenants. He then decided to raise native carabaos and crossbreds for racing purposes. It was a good decision as, for a few years, he was winning in races and earning money. It was then, however, when he noticed that his brother was earning daily because of the milk production from his crossbred dams. Soon, he was into carabao dairying. Later, he heard of the 25-cow dairy module by PCC and with his brothers and other village mates, they received BMB as loans. In 2004, Ramos, who went on to become president of a dairy cooperative and later of a federation of dairy cooperatives, was earning from Php 25,000 to Php 30,000 from the milk produced by his buffaloes.

Businessing the Carabao

Today, Ramos is owner-operator of a small ranch of carabaos. He did not regret his decision to devote his time, and his future, in carabao raising and dairying as it proved to be a lucrative enterprise. Up in the town proper of Talavera, Danilo Fausto became an epitome of a successful entrepreneur who engaged in dairy farming. He is currently the president and chief operating officer of the DVF Dairy Farm, Inc. which started as a single proprietorship in 2000. Fausto, a former official of a rural bank in his hometown who later on became a successful investment banker in Metro Manila, ventured in dairy farming. He started it by buying ten carabaos. Not a few at that time threw unsavory comment on what they thought was a bad decision on his part especially when his animals did not improve much as they suffered in nutritional deficiencies largely due to the absence of appropriate forage that time. He, however, studied

and consulted with the experts from the Philippine Carabao Research and Development Center, the forerunner of the PCC, as regards management, breed and proper nutrition of the animals. In time, his stock multiplied and the farmers in the area took notice about it. They wanted to borrow some from his stocks to take care of. That was the time he thought of forming the Talavera Dairy Cooperative, Inc. that soon provided animal stock, emergency loans, technical assistance and support, feed supplement, and veterinary medicines for health and nutrition of the animals. Most importantly, the cooperative guaranteed a sure market for the milk collected by member-cooperators from their animal. All the milk collected was sold by the cooperative to customers in Talavera town. When the cooperative became a recipient of the 25-head buffalo cow module, Fausto decided to put up the DVF Dairy Farm Gatas ng Kalabaw

(carabao’s milk) business venture to complement the efforts of the cooperative in the marketing of the milk collected by the farmers. He established his plant in his 2,000-square meter area in Barangay Poblacion Sur in Talavera town. The site is along the main highway in Nueva Ecija. The entity soon started marketing milk and milk products. To date, the milk products produced and marketed by the DVF Dairy Farms are non-fat carabao’s milk, low-fat carabao’s milk, cream from carabao’s milk, quesong puti (native white cheese), gourmet cheese, pastillas de leche, flavored pastillas, espasol de leche, flavored milk candies, leche flan, yogurt, butter, whip cream, ricotta, mozzarella cheese, and sour cream. Since there are also available

Mr. Danilo Fausto, president and CEO of DVF Dairy Farms, published a book detailing his experience in dairy farming.


cow’s milk, pasteurized cow’s milk, nonfat cow’s milk, low-fat cow’s milk, white cheese from cow’s milk, and choco milk from cow’s milk are also produced and marketed. Fausto was bestowed awards by award-giving bodies for his feat. The awards included the “Most Outstanding Entrepreneur” by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Nueva Ecija and by the Department of Trade and Industry. He was also a recipient of the “Huwarang Pilipino National Award” for cooperative development given by the Radyo ng Bayan of the Philippine Broadcasting System in 2002 and for business and industry and for public

Ilocos region, its almost 17,000-hectare

service in 2005. The DVF Dairy Farm brand “Gatas ng Kalabaw” was awarded the Philippine Marketing Excellence Award by the Asian Institute of Marketing and Entrepreneurship. They were among the people who found that there is big money and business in dairy carabao raising and entrepreneurship in products that the carabaos yield, especially milk. Many more have become living proofs of successes in carabao-based enterprises.

no thriving ones in the town’s confine.

‘Carabao crossbred capital’ One remote town in the northern part of the country is bidding to be declared as the “Carabao Crossbred Capital of the Philippines”. That town appears likely to achieve that earnest hope someday. The town is San Agustin in Isabela province. Created in 1949, it is at the crossroad of the provinces of Isabela, Quirino, and Aurora and abutting the foot of the vast Sierra Madre Mountain range. Inhabited by many settlers from the


Businessing the Carabao

area is mostly rolling hills. Yellow and white corn production is the predominant agricultural activity with rice production and banana growing, especially the saba variety, coming next. The town has a total of 3,500 hectares of grassland which is verdant almost throughout the year due to the vegetative growth that includes succulent grasses for animal feed. It makes the town ideal for raising large animals and sure enough the farmers own more than 6,000 native carabaos, among other animals. Income for the farmers was not that big. The municipality was not also getting big revenue from business as there were The local government unit was largely getting money for its operation from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) which was not also relatively a big amount. For years, San Agustin was classified as a fourth class municipality. In 1993, the town officials, led by the mayor, seized the opportunity to get involved in a project called “National Artificial Insemination Program” and the “Carabao Development Program”. The municipal agriculturist, Julio Lamug, approached the town mayor that time, Jesus Silorio, and briefed him about the twin programs. The mayor readily said: “Let’s give them a try. They are good programs.” Later that year, the first AI project in San Agustin was set. The farmers in 23 villages of the town were informed about it. When told about the expected outcome of the project, many of the farmers quipped: “Diak pati, diak kita” which are Ilocano words for “to see is to believe. They were reluctant as it has something to do with their prized possessions, their native carabaos.

Berum a con con consequ ibusanto qui tempos et ex experum suntemque et eliqui re doluptium dolorem .

Skeptical, they asked many questions about the technology. “How can they make the carabaos in heat at the same time? Will my carabao not suffer any ill-effects due to artificial insemination? Can my native carabao carry and sustain the big calf inside her womb? Can the improved breed work in the field as diligently as the native carabao?” Only 107 female carabaos from ten villages were brought in by the

farmers on the appointed date for the AI treatment. Of this number, 24 became pregnant and gave birth after 300 days. When many of the farmers saw the offspring, they were one in exclaiming “Nasiyaat” which meant “Good to see”. Indeed the crossbred calf is good to see compared to the calf of the pure native carabao. Studies by the PCC showed that some male calves from crossbreeding were observed to weigh

Engr. Jaime Ramos of Talavera, Nueva Ecija devotes his time in raising and cashing in on dairy carabaos. He currently has at least 80 purebred dairy water buffaloes.


Mayor Virgilio Padilla of San Agustin, Isabela who is a proud owner of crossbred carabaos, is pushing for the declaration of his town as “Crossbred Carabaos Capital of the Philippines.”


34 kilograms at birth and their female counterpart at 26.65 kilograms. The native carabaos were at 23.54 kg. and 23.42 at birth for the male and female calves, respectively. Further studies by experts showed the following facts (PCARRD, 2002): The Murrah buffalo and Philippine crosses (50:50) have relatively greater capacity to grow and produce milk than the native carabaos. At 24 months, the crossbreeds weigh 216.46 kg or 28 percent heavier than the native carabaos. In terms of draftability, there is no difference in performance between the native carabaos and Murrah grades,

In terms of milk production, the female crossbreed has potentials of 4 to 4.5 liters of milk per day per animal compared to the native’s 1.5 liters.

suggesting that introduction of Murrah buffalo blood to improve milk production does not have detrimental effect on the ability to perform work. Some mature crossbreds weigh about 700 kg compared to the native’s weight of 500 kg.

A 14-member team from the PCC at the Central Luzon State University (PCC at CLSU), PCC at CSU, Department of Agriculture, Office of the Provincial Veterinarian of Isabela, and the local government unit of San Agustin worked overtime for the AI service.

Businessing the Carabao

Seeing the early results of the AI services for the native carabaos in their town, in the following AI schedule, a total of 321 native carabaos were brought to the designated treatment place. Of this number, 193 qualified for estrus synchronization treatment while 51 were found to be in heat.

In time, 59 calves were born, 30 of which were female. Parallel to the AI project, 15 imported and island-born superior quality bulls were entrusted to qualified farmerpartners in San Agustin. The bulls were used for the upgrading program in that town. All told, San Agustin produced 1,136 head crossbreeds. Most of them were products of sumpit (AI treatment) and the rest bulog (natural mating) (Roque et al. 2009). Mayor Virgilio Padilla, who owns crossbreds himself, one of which was a winner in the regional contest, made the carabao program the banner program of his administration. He publicly announced that he would work hard with his constituents for the production of 2,000 to 3,000 more crossbreds in his town. In the meantime, a modest milk and milk products industry has begun in the town. But wanting to see later on a robust carabao-based industry in San Agustin that will “businessize” the carabao’s milk, meat, hide, horn and bones, the PCC

posted a team that will help the local officials and farmers in further studies, planning and set-up of what needs to be carried out for the realization of that envisioned industry in that town. In the recent “Nuang Festival” in San Agustin, in which Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy III was guest of honor, the official promised a grant of P5 million for the development of a carabao-based industry in that town. The amount was subsequently given when a detailed plan on how the industry will be carried out in that town was drafted and incorporated in the memorandum of agreement which was signed and made effective by officials concerned. Easily, it can be said that San Agustin is making use of the crossbred carabaos as the engine of growth and development of the town and in improving the lives of its residents.

Farmer-owners of dairy carabaos (right) show enthusiasm in imbibing technical knowledge provided by PCC experts (left) about raising the carabaos and using them for various enterprises.

Incubator carabao modules The beginning efforts for the rousing of awareness of rural families in the wide-


Some of the members of the all-women dairy cooperative in Calabalabaan, Science City of Muñoz.


open opportunities for changing lives in entrepreneurship involving the carabao started in 1996. It was on that year the PCC launched the Carabao-based Dairy Enterprise Development Program. For a start, PCC released the first 25-cow dairy buffalo module in Tulong, Urdaneta, Pangasinan. Under the module’s agreement, the carabaos were loaned out to qualified farmers who are members of duly registered farmers’ organization or cooperative. The recipients were duty bound to take care of the animals, maintain animal and production records, provide the necessary inputs and other obligations stipulated in the loan contract, pay the animal in kind by turning over the first offspring delivered by the water buffalo, and continuously engage in dairy business following approved practices and technology provided by the PCC.

Businessing the Carabao

Several valuable lessons were gained out of the community organizing and cooperative development from that “Tulong Model”. These lessons, plus other insights, became the guidepost in establishing several incubator modules in different parts of the country. One such module is the all-women dairy group in Calabalabaan, Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija. Originally, they were 15 when they were with the Rural Improvement Club. The number expanded to 25 when they formed the “Angat-Buhay Producers’ Cooperative” in 1999. “Angat-buhay” is a compound Tagalog word taken from “angat” (raise or improve) and “buhay” (life). The women of Calabalabaan simply want what their cooperative’s name conveys: to raise their level of life in their community. They attended a series of seminars and trainings on cooperativism and buffalo

the “Hall of Fame” for being the “Best Dairy Cooperative” in Nueva Ecija. The coop has also expanded its services to the members and it now provides soft and emergency loans and grocery needs which are paid from the milk collected and sold by the members from their dairy carabaos. But more than the accolades they have received and the amenities they are now enjoying from their cooperative, the members are one in attesting the personal benefits and satisfaction they are getting from raising carabaos and dairying. “Since I started with carabao dairying, I was able to send my children to school with no more worries where to get their

management, put up their respective sheds for the animal and established areas for pastures, and were eventually provided, on loan basis, 25 head of dairy buffaloes by the PCC. Two years thereafter, their cooperative reported a total income of P82,832 for the volumes of milk collected and sold. The big income intensified the interest of the women-members in dairying as they foresaw in it a venture that holds a beautiful promise in uplifting their economic conditions. The coop chair, Belinda Parugrog, reported recently that their aggregate total earnings have already reached Php 8 million out of the sales of milk alone. Likewise, she said their dairy carabaos have already increased to 200. For its efficient and effective operation, the coop had reaped various awards, the latest of which was its installation in

daily allowances,” Cora de Guzman, one of the coop members, said. She emphasized that they were hard press before in getting money for their daily needs as her husband was just getting percentage share from the harvest of the rice farm he was working on as a tenant. From one dairy buffalo, De Guzman now has 17. In 2009, she said she earned P158,944.50, most of which from milk

The all-women dairy cooperative of Calabalabaan has been singled out as an example of a successful incubator carabao module as it is the only dairy cooperative composed of and attended by females in a venture supposedly male-dominated. And it chalked-up stellar achievements, at that.


The NEFEDCCO office and plant in San Ricardo, Talavera, Nueva Ecija.


sales and the rest from the sales of male carabaos. Sharing her good fortune in dairying, Parugrog, the coop chair, narrated that before her plunge into a rather alien world of raising carabaos for business enterprises, she stayed home for 15 years to take care of her child while her husband worked in Manila. Money was not enough. She tried her hand in raising hog but it wasn’t giving her fair return to augment her husband’s income. The coming of the dairy carabao changed everything for her and her family. Her husband agreed to resign from work and help in raising the animals. All told, they now have 11 dairy carabaos.

When asked what has carabao dairying done for them, the members chorused: “Carabao dairying made our daily lives a breeze. Cash money now flows easily to us and that makes us and our respective families really enjoy our right to live happily compared to what we experienced before.” There are 48 other successful dairy cooperatives in Nueva Ecija today. They operate under the umbrella organization named “Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperatives” (NEFEDCCO) which the member-cooperatives formed in 2002. The individual cooperatives, as well as the federation, operate well, and outstanding at that, and therefore it is

Parugrog later became treasurer, member of the board of directors, and eventually elected chair of the federation of dairy cooperatives in the province in succession from 2003 to 2009. Parugrog continues to steer the affairs of the “Angat-Buhay Producers Cooperative” as its chair.

no wonder that Nueva Ecija has been declared as the National Impact Zone (NIZ) for carabao dairying. Documentations by a research team from PCC showed an impressive showing of the dairy cooperatives of Nueva Ecija as reflected in a paper titled “Intensifying Village-level Carabao-based Dairy

Businessing the Carabao

Enterprise Development in Nontraditional Dairy Communities” which won first prize in the 2010 National Research Symposium of the Bureau of Agricultural Research. The following facts and citations were liberally quoted in part from the winning paper: “In seven years, the total volume of milk produced in Nueva Ecija by the cooperatives was 1,741,163.71 liters. The gross income of milk produced reached Php 62.7 million that benefited at least 1,300 farmers. From a thousand purebred dairy water buffaloes, which were loaned out by PCC to 36 original coops, a total of 3,250 calves (1,614 females and 1,636 males) was produced. The dairy farmers average five liters of milk harvest each day. Priced initially at P32 a liter, a farmer earns P160 a day or P48,000 for 300 days per animal. In 2002, the farmers formed the Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperatives (NEFEDCCO), which helps process pasteurized milk, lacto-juice (fruit-flavored milk), green milk (mixed with pandan and moringa extracts), kesong puti (cottage cheese), and milk bars, in plants stationed in Barangay San Ricardo in Talavera town. The federation reported an income of Php 3,655,422 from 2002 to 2008 from its products labelled “Cremeria Nueva Ecija.” Six of NEFEDCCO’s officials participated in 2009 in an educational trip to Thailand to appreciate the achievements and learn from some of the successful integrated dairy business enterprises and farms in that country. In 2009, the participating farmers and cooperatives involved in the incubator dairy modules of the NIZ reported cumulative incomes of Php 5.95 million from 185,975 liters of milk collected. The type and number of jobs created by the dairy business enterprises of the various

cooperatives in Nueva Ecija include the following: dairy farmers/families, 928; milk collectors/delivery persons, 18; milk processors, 5; office clerks, 38; artificial insemination technicians, 21; veterinary aides, 35; and 97 bull caretakers for a total of 1,142. As a corollary step, the different PCC stations in the country developed their respective impact zones to demonstrate that carabao dairying produces wonders in many ways. They, too, have lots of success stories in dairying to tell.

The center director of PCC at UP Los Baños at the facade of the General Trias Dairy Processing Center in Cavite with the center’s mascot.


scores of other members are earning more for their individual efforts in selling their milk produce to various clients in various places. In retrospect, this is a giant leap from an impoverished life they experienced and endured before when they could only see the color of their money at rice harvest time which comes at least three months after planting. The coop, on the other hand, for ably handling dairy business, reported gross sales of P5,722,419.30 and a net income of P825,733.59 in 2009. The sales were from pasteurized milk, kesong puti, kasilyo, pastillas de leche, chocomilk, strawberry milk, Milk-O-Gel, ice candy and yogurt. One of the come-on posters of the General Trias Dairy Raisers Multipurpose Cooperative.


General Trias’ best In Cavite province, one town proclaims carabao dairying as its best, in the estimation and proven capabilities of the dairy cooperative. That town is General Trias and the cooperative is the General Trias Dairy Raisers Multi-purpose Cooperative (GTDRMPC). The coop’s dairy products carry the brand name “GenTri’s Best”. Starting with 44 members in 2005, the GTDRMPC has now 139 members about half of whom sell the milk collected from the carabaos to the coop and the rest doing their own business. An average of 250 liters of milk are sold by the members to their coop everyday which is priced at Php60 per liter for premium raw milk and Php54 for class B. Payment is made to the dairy farmers a day after the milk was accepted and classified by the coop. For the average 250 liters of milk turned in by the members, for the selling price of only P57 per liter, an average of Php14,250 is shared by scores of farmers belonging to the coop. The

Businessing the Carabao

Out of the coop’s business, one entrepreneur, Mike Mercado, made a thriving business of his own. Getting his supply of raw milk from the coop, Mercado put up retail outlets (kiosks) in Tagaytay City, Silang, Cavite; and South Supermarket in Alabang, Muntinglupa City. He produces and sells pasteurized milk and milk products under the brand name “Mr. Moo”. A customer from Manila said when he was asked why he was buying fresh milk from “Mr. Moo’s” roadside kiosk in Tagaytay City: “We miss our sabawgatas for our meal.” Sabaw-gatas, he explained, is making the teeming hot cooked rice swims in delicious carabao milk for the breakfast meal. He further said that it was a meal introduce to them by their grandmother when they were small kids and they relished it very much and now that they reside in an urban place, they always yearn for it. For sure, Mercado’s venture is headed toward expansion. In the first place, his products are well-patronized, his outlets are well-placed in strategic places, and most importantly, he has abundant supply of carabao’s milk. The farmers of Gen. Trias are greatly primed

up to increase their carabao stock and their milk collection from their animals and therefore the supply of the “white gold” will be likened to a milk-gushing spring. Dr. Arnel del Barrio, center director of the PCC at the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (PCC at UPLB), about two hours drive from Gen. Trias, said that since 1997 his office, in close coordination with the local government unit officials, has been conducting massive AI treatments, coupled with bull loans, in Gen. Trias town. The farmers, who have been introduced to owning quality dairy buffaloes in the 1980s under the “Strengthening of the Carabao Research and Development Program”, nurtured on their own the initiative to increase their stock by buying crossbreds in outlying towns aside from keenly taking advantage of the PCC AI project and Bull Loan Program, he added. The GTDRMPC, on the other hand, boasts of a modern processing center

whose set-up was achieved through a collaborative undertaking by the local government of General Trias, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and the PCC. Among others, it is equipped with a 500-liter capacity fill line processing system. The coop maintains eight staff members in its “GenTri’s Best Gatas ng Kalabaw” plant, each with assigned responsibility or responsibilities in management, processing milk, quality testing, bookkeeping, and milk collection. The coop was adjudged “Outstanding Agri-Entrepreneur” for “Gawad Saka 2010” in Region IV-A. Looking at the GTDRMPC achievements, it could not have scaled such heights if it did not have the full support of the local government of General Trias under Mayor Luis Ferrer IV. From the very start of the Carabao Development Program in his town, the mayor allotted funds for the trainings and other support system for the farmers, assumed the payment of the insurance

The dairy farmers of barangay Navarro, Gen. Trias, Cavite say carabao dairying has made their daily life changed for the better.


Francisco Solis with his Ford Everest


for the dairy animals, gave funds for the hauling of bulls and heifers, assisted in the registration of the coop and in the formulation of its by-laws and guidelines, and helped the coop in acquiring the initial processing facilities that included a kitchen-type processing area, freezer and kitchen utensils. The mayor even sent out letters to all schools and other establishments in the town to patronize “GenTri’s Best Products” and above all, he made the products of the coop as the outstanding items in the “One Town, One Product” entry of the town under the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) development and promotions projects. If one is keen on observing how

carabao raising, dairying, and milk products production and marketing. The experience of General Trias is expected to spill over to some other towns of Cavite as the PCC at UPLB moves on in pursuing its avowed mission.

deep is Mayor Ferrer’s commitment to carabao dairying in his town, one unmistakable proof shows it just one step into the doors of the plush four-story municipal building of General Trias. It is in the form of a big printed material that advertises “GenTris Best Products”. By it, it can be readily ascertained that he literally brought at the door of the town its “businessized” model of improved

not ascending the educational ladder. The leaking roof of their nipa house was not seeing a replacement by sturdier materials and the food on their table could seldom be beyond cooked rice washed down by a broth of vegetables and dried fish. On his wedding day, with fiancée Teresita, in 1991, something bountiful, in his own estimation, came his way. The principal sponsors and wedding guests gave them an accumulated largesse of Php11,000 cash gift. With the money, he bought one crossbred female carabao which he used for tilling a three-hectare rainfed area. When the carabao gave birth, he started his modest dairying venture. In time, he was able to raise Php12,000 from sales of milk and from a yearling male offspring. He bought another dam which eventually grew to five head. That started his herd build-up, which at one time has grown to 23, and his unrivalled achievement of building a fortune fired-up by carabao raising and dairying.

Businessing the Carabao

Nonpareil dairy farmer At ten, Francisco Solis of General Trias, Cavite was tending three native carabaos which were being used by his father in farm works. Life then seemed headed toward further uncertain days ahead. The family’s income was always not enough and he was seeing himself

Today, he has four passenger jeepneys, an L200 van, an ownertype jeepney, tricycle, hand tractors, threshers, a store and a bakery. And there’s something more: He acquired a Ford Everest vehicle at Php 1.3 million which he occasionally uses for delivering his milk collection. There is no other dairy farmer today who uses a posh vehicle to deliver milk from his carabao dairying to his loyal customers. At the peak of the lactation period of his dairy carabaos, he collects 100 “gin” bottles of milk, which is equivalent to 33 liters. Sold at P30 per bottle, the bonanza amounts to P3,000 a day. Aside from fresh milk, he also produces kasilyo, or white cheese made up of fresh milk and small amount of vinegar, cooked in pot and glowing coal, and neatly wrapped in pieces of saba banana leaves. Selling pieces of his kasilyo in nearby towns of Kawit, Imus and Binakayan in Cavite, and in style at that as he uses his gleaming black vehicle in delivering the goods, he certainly makes much more money because of the added value to his fresh milk. Talk about a highly successful carabao dairying enthusiast and Ka Asis, as he is known in the community, is that man. Another thing that he loves to jokingly relate was those times when he was asked to stand as wedding sponsor. He said he used to wear a borrowed “Barong Tagalog” and for the gift to the newly-weds, he just give things of not-so-attractive value as he could not afford to buy expensive ones. In contrast today, whenever he is asked to stand as wedding sponsor, he not only procures tailor-made “Barong Tagalog” of excellent materials but he gives as gift not just a

Ka Asis with his carabao.

“Had it not been because of carabao dairying, I will not be able to purchase what we have today and send my children to good private schools,” Ka Asis loves to say. He has three children who finished higher education. gas range but a gas range with matching tank that is gas-filled at that. This nonpareil dairy farmer was quick to say, though, that his fortune was not just a matter of luck. It was a product of creativity, hard work, patience, the dogged will to rise from the gutter and improve some more, honesty in business and in dealing with others, and doing the best that he can. His wife, Teresita, could just smile for what her husband is


Salvador Tobias of San Jose City is a proud owner of 21 dairy carabaos and a holder of a title as “Best Dairy Buffalo Farmer�. He is shown at right (center) with a replica of the check he received as part of his award.

saying now with a tinge of pride as she was part of that drive toward attaining the wonderful things that happened to their family. Definitely, Ka Asis, is unparalleled in his achievements at the moment in so far as carabao raising and dairying are concerned. Still, there are other achievers who are outstanding in their own right. Take the case of Salvador Tobias, 55, of Barangay Villa Joson, San Jose City.


Businessing the Carabao

For years, his life as a rice and vegetable farmer was that of an endless difficulties and sacrifices. His rice lands are rainfed areas which, most often than not, are in short supply of irrigation water which thus forces him to use irrigation pumps which had been costing him much money but with a little margin of profit only afterwards. He was then resigned to a fate that provides little hope for giving his wife Teresita and seven children, composed of four boys and three girls, a

better future. He was also seeing a future for his children sharing the same handto-mouth existence or a scenario where one by one they will go away in search of a greener pasture. Raising dairy water buffaloes changed life for him, for his family, and for his outlook in life. Money comes easily for him today. Moreover, his family is intact. He, his wife, and children, including the married ones, are all together engaged in raising dairy water buffaloes and in dairying right in their place.Certain areas of his rice lands are now planted to grasses for the feed of his big herd of dairy water buffaloes. Tobias was awarded by the

practices in adhering to standards of good dairy farmers. These standards include proper animal management system, good physical conditions of the animals, sanitary surroundings, proper milk collection and delivery system, family participation, productivity, and compliance to the PCC’s set of requirements. From the Murrah buffalo entrusted to him under the PCC’s incubator module program, he now has 21 purebred and one crossbred buffaloes. He gets as high as 12 liters of milk a day per animal which he sells to the NEFEDCCO via the SIPBUPCO of which he is an officer. Tobias, his wife, and seven children

Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) as an “outstanding dairy farmer of 2010” under the dairy family module. Introduced to dairying in 2001, Tobias was one among 25 farmers who banded together under the “Simula ng Panibagong Bukas Carabao Dairy Cooperative” (SPBCDC) in San Jose City. He attended trainings conducted by PCC for the raising of dairy water buffaloes and in the eventual dairying enterprise. That time, PCC was introducing dairy water buffaloes as a source of livelihood for the rural farming family. Incidentally, the SPBCDCC, which has expanded to “Simula ng Panibagong Bukas Primary Multipurpose Cooperative” (SIPBUPCO), was honored in 2010 as “Best Dairy Cooperative”. It earned Php1.2 million in 2009. In 2008, this cooperative won the “Best Producer Award” in the selection conducted that year in connection with the observance of the cooperative month in Nueva Ecija. Tobias was a recipient of two Bulgarian Murrah buffaloes under certain terms and conditions. Among the term was to give to PCC the first offspring of the loaned out dairy buffalo. He was selected for the award for his

have their shares of work for the upkeep of the animals and in the very stimulating milking activity. His four sons, Dennis, Russel, Aser, and Wendell, help much in taking care of the herd, in grazing them or in cutting forage for the animals, and in bathing them before the milking

The officers of the “Simula ng Panibagong Bukas Producers Cooperative” of San Jose City has expanded their operation because of their success in dairying. Their coop has tucked in its list of achievements the award “Outstanding Cooperative”.


He also said that his two sons, who are married and with children, opted to stay in the farm where the animals are kept and attended to. Their farm is some two kilometers away from the family residence. “We can say that raising dairy buffaloes and dairying maintain our family bonding,” Tobias said in Tagalog. “I am sure we will stay together as we are secure in our little world,” he added. Tobias is paid Php35 per liter of milk but Php1 goes to the cooperative as his savings. His expense is Php 15 per animal per day for the concentrate feed during the animal’s lactation period. He sells the male offspring when it is

Pablo Nazar of Talavera, Nueva Ecija with one of his many carabaos and a replica of the check which he received as prize for being an awardee as “Best Dairy Buffalo Farmer” in the smallhold category.


activity.Dennis, his eldest, has become an adept technician and veterinary aide thru the trainings he attended. He takes charge of providing artificial insemination treatment and in other activities like pregnancy diagnosis, deworming, and administering vitamins to the animals. His wife, three daughters, and two daughters-in-law prepare the needs required before, during and after milking and in readying the milk for collection by a business agent. They also maintain cleanliness in the corral area and in updating records of the animals and their family business. “We work together. Even my youngest daughter already knew how to milk the carabaos even while she was in Grade six,” Tobias said. His daughter is about to finish her secondary course.

Businessing the Carabao

about a year old. “Carabao dairying is really a big help for us because it is providing us daily income for our expenses in the family including the giving of allowance to our children in school,” Tobias said. The second to the youngest of his children is enrolled in a university taking up a course in civil engineering. His youngest is in high school. From his income, Tobias was able to acquire a tricycle, one motorcycle, one “kolong-kolong” (a cargo transport facility powered by a motorcycle), and a power sprayer for cleaning his 80-square meter animal shed and for bathing the animals. “My concentration today is to have more dairy carabaos,” Tobias said. “Having more dairy carabaos is equivalent to having more rice lands in terms of expected income,” he added. Tobias was preceded by Florentino Juan of Barangay Pulong Buli in Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija who was adjudged “2008 Best Buffalo Dairy Farmer” under the family module category. He produced 19 calves out of his two original dairy buffaloes, 14 female

and five males. He repaid in kind his obligation to PCC, sold the males and maintained his dairy herd. He earned substantial amounts from his daily sales of an average 20 liters production per day. His daily production was expected to increase some more as a number of his dams was pregnant.. . In Talavera, Nueva Ecija, Pablo Nazar, 54, was a farmer-recipient of a dairy water buffalo in 2001 as a member of the “Kilusang Bayan sa Pagpaunlad ng Talavera”. He felt he was unlucky for what he got was a small and thin animal. But his lament turn to praises when he found out that the animal was pregnant. His animal increased in number a little after a few years. But then, Nazar experienced a most trying time in his life. His first child with wife Susana was discovered to be sick with lupus, a severe skin disease. For six years, he suffered emotionally and financially as their sick daughter needed to be hospitalized every now and then. Instead of selling, though, his dairy carabaos, he opted to borrow money with his two-hectare rice land as collateral. He spent Php400,000 for the treatment of his daughter who unfortunately succumbed in spite of the efforts to give her the best treatment possible. Asked why he did not think then of selling his dairy carabaos, he said: “Deep in my heart I knew that they are my remaining hope for my family’s welfare. I was certain that with my carabaos intact, we will be able to overcome our difficulties.” Today, he has 18 head dairy buffalo and still increasing as he never failed to submit his animal for AI treatment in due time. He is also about to repay all his loan and get back his riceland.

Edgardo Nieto of Asingan, Pangasinan is shown with his dairy buffaloes and his vermiculture project using the carabao manure as substrate. He was adjudged “Best Buffalo Farmer” awardee in 2008.

In 2008, Edgar Nieto of Bantog, Asingan, Pangasinan romped off the “Best Buffalo Farmer Award” under the smallhold category. As a member of the Bantog Samahang Nayon Multi-purpose Cooperative, he applied for an animal loan of three buffaloes which he got in 2003 and thereafter produced six calves in five years. He added his stock with one heifer which he bought out of his income from dairying. Nieto displayed good animal health management, de-wormed his animal every six months and ensured that his animals were given good feed through his 2,000-square- meter forage area. He also turned the animal waste into organic fertilizer which he used in his vegetable farm. The vegetables he raised and sold augmented his income. He also maintained an organized record system on milk production, animal health, calves production, and financial records.


Long established enterprises If there’s one town that made a big name in the use of carabao’s milk for a very saleable product, that town is San Miguel in Bulacan. Established in 1763 as Miguel de Mayuno, it was once a part of Pampanga. Mayumo is a Kapampangan word for “sweet”. The Spanish officials during their rule of the town urged the residents to produce “sweet products” and they responded by coming out with products that were sweet. The products became

San Miguel in Bulacan has been producing since the Spanish time “pastillas de leche” out of the carabaos milk. More than 200 households are currently engaged in this business which is the best seller among the many “sweets” sold in that town.


popular and became hallmarks of excellence for the town. Among the most favored “San Miguel sweets” were yema, a variety of candied fruits, and the most popular of them all, the pastillas de leche wrapped in pabalat or wrapping paper with creatively fashioned out paper-cut designs. The pastillas de leche is done by mixing pure carabao’s milk with sugar and boiling it to thicken. Dayap (lime) is

Businessing the Carabao

used for flavoring. It is then formed into small “logs”, rolled into granulated sugar and cut to size. In 2006, the municipal government of San Miguel, declared every May 5-7 as days for the town’s “Pastillas Festival”.to underscore the importance of this food product to the lives of its residents. “The pastillas has been a source of pride and unifying symbol for the people here. We give pastillas as gift to our families, love ones during birthdays, wedding and other occasions. This is the secret of the industry. It has survived time because not only visitors but even the locals patronize it,” Mayor Edmund Jose Buencamino was quoted as saying during the launching of the first Pastillas Festival in 2006. The Department of Tourism in Region III advertises the event by announcing its features, such as demonstrations on pastillas cooking and the craft of making pabalat, displays of the products, and other activities that fittingly observe the celebration.

The town has about 200 pastillas makers most of home are conducting home business. The pastillas makers get their supply of raw milk in their locality and neighboring towns of Nueva Ecija and Bulacan. The milk supply has been boosted when the farmers started getting much more milk from their improved dairy carabaos. In Lumban, Laguna, the Del Valle family has a very long tradition of making kesong puti and selling it not only in the locality but in other far-away places like Bulacan and Nueva Ecija. Mrs. Nora del Valle, the lady who is now at the helm of running the affairs of the enterprise, is continuing the tradition which her grandparents started several years back. Through her nephew, raw milk is collected every day from about 30 farmers in the neighborhood. The milk is processed and wrapped in banana leaves. The product is sold at varying selling prices from P10 to P150 to P400 pack. Some of the products, which are intended for buyers who are desirous of bringing or sending them abroad, are packed in apt plastic wares. The family tradition is expected to be carried on as the young members of the Del Valle family have shown interest and are participating in the business. To help in increasing milk production, the PCC lent purebred dairy carabaos to qualified farmers in the area, including the nephew of Mrs. Del Valle. It also included the town in the bull loan program and in the massive artificial insemination treatment program. A dairy cooperative has also been established in the town. Also a long-established enterprise capitalizing on carabao’s milk is the “Alcala Milk Candy” established by the Teaño family in 1938 in Alcala, Cagayan.

The Del Valle Family in Lumban, Laguna has been engaged in making “kesong puti” (native cheese) out of carabao’s milk. Mrs. Nora del Valle continues the enterprise handed down by her grandparents.

The candy’s ingredients are carabaos’ milk, sugar and flour. The product comes in candy bars and is sold in hotels, bus stops, grocery stores, and to walk-in buyers who visit the main product’s outlet which is in one portion of the family’s ancestral house which also serves as the production area. The business is continued on by Mr. Artemio Teaño who now manages the successful business enterprise.


“Chicha-rabao” is crackling from carabao skin.

The Teaños of Cagayan continue to produce “Alcala Sweets” which are carabao’s milk candy. In inset are samples of their packaged product. (The photo above is Mr. Artemio Teaño)


In Tuguegarao, Cagayan, Mrs. Emma Enrile, a sister of Artemio, put up her carabao candy business. She named it “Alcala Sweets”. Her product, which is slightly different from the original product, is sold in various outlets that include groceries, cooperative stores, and others. Some of their raw milk supply comes from Nueva Ecija. But the bulk comes from the farmers in their respective localities who are raising purebred and crossbred dairy carabaos. Also in Tuguegarao, a cooperative, the Lighthouse Cooperative, is producing and selling “Chicha-rabao” (crackling),”carabao longanisa (native sausage)”, and “carabao tapa (jerky)”. The meat products produced by the cooperative carry the brand name “Carne Ybanag”. Elsewhere in Cagayan, bolo and knife handles made from carabao horns are sold in the market. They are produced

Businessing the Carabao

by entrepreneurs for the farmers who are looking for more durable handle for their boloes and knives. The blacksmiths in Tuguegarao, particularly in Barangay Larion Alto, who are noted for making quality boloes, make sure that their products are fitted with handles made from carabao horns. They source out the horns from sellers coming from different towns in Cagayan and Isabela provinces. In Baliuag, Bulacan, couple Michael and Nerly Gozales are producing “kalamilk” whose main ingredient is carabao’s milk. For long-lasting aroma, they add essential oil.

Some of the products of the Lighthouse Cooperative in Tuguegarao, Cagayan include “carabao longganisa”, “carabao tapa”, and “chicha-rabao.

In Magalang, Pampanga, plantanilla, an authentic Pampango pastry, is made more delicious by the Carreon’s Sweets and Pastries by adding a filling of pastillas de leche. The establishment also offers other delights with rich pastes of carabao’s milk. For a “soup for the soul”, the Blue Carabao Diner and Blue Carabao Eatery, which carry the slogan “Taste the Power of the Carabao”, offer hinalang or halanghalang with chunks of carabao meat and various spices, including siling labuyo or chili pepper. The chunks of carabeef “practically melts in the mouth”. Sharing the gourmand’s delight in the two eateries, which are owned and run by a husband-and-wife team, Francis and Sherry Scott, is the pochero which has “carabao shank with bone marrow, young or full-sized corn, taro, Chinese cabbage and straw beans”. As they count many customers, daily business in these eateries is brisk and most rewarding. The eateries are in Davao City. In terms of novelties making use of carabao hide and other by-products

like horns and bones, there are at least two entities in the country that made headways. They are the “Our Tribes Store” with several branches in Metro Manila and the ”Arnel T. Papa Jewelry and Accessory Design” in Marilao, Bulacan. They count as regular customers persons interested in high fashion designs and others who are looking for novelties and products known for their quality, durability and good designs.. The owners of these enterprises are certainly enjoying the fruits of a booming business.

Some leather goods from carabao’s hide.

The owner-operators of the “Blue Carabao Diner” and “Blue Carabao Eatery” in Davao City, Francis and Sherry Scott, adopted the slogan “Taste the power of the carabao”.


AI village technician One man, a graduate of an animal science course and doing well as an employee of PCC, left his job for a work as a private artificial insemination (AI) technician. Many eyebrows were raised for his bold decision saying that he jumped from a comfortable bed to a bare floor. They didn’t readily grasp the beautiful path ahead that lay for private AI technicians. In his village in Victoria, Tarlac, that man took quite sometime to convince the farmers that the “small stainless steel stick” he has in his hand can do wonders in impregnating the carabao whose offspring is very much different from its mother which is of the native breed. When the first offspring of the AI treatment he made with the native carabao of his brother was born, the regard for his decision and for him changed. He became a very busy man, a sought-after technician. Noli Lorenzo is today a topnotch accredited Village-based AI Technician (VBAIT).He is earning well, much more than the take home pay he was getting while he was in government service. In his job, he is equipped with AI gun and liquid nitrogen (LN2) tank which is filled with frozen semen taken from the PCC bull farm. He goes from one farmer to another from one village to another in a town and the next towns who contacts him and makes appointment with him for the AI treatment of their dairy carabaos. Lorenzo is paid Php 500 per AI treatment that he provides. His success rate of 60% exceeds the national rate of 40% in AI treatment. The high success rate that he achieves in his work, though, is not by chance. He has mastered AI and is good at what he is doing, which should be the


Businessing the Carabao

A village-based artificial insemination technician is geared up for work.

case for a VBAIT. He underwent trainings conducted by the PCC and, through the honing of his skills and appropriate observation as well as scientific testing, he is one technician who can readily determine if the carabao is in heat. Through the sounds and actions of the animal, Lorenzo more or less can say that it is fertile and ready for the AI service. He nevertheless still looks at other telltale signs like the mucous discharge from the ovary. For sure, he knows that the female carabao can only be fertile over a 24-hour period during an 18 to 21-day heat cycle. He sometimes inject hormone to the animal for estrus synchronization which induces the animal to be in heat and therefore can be applied with AI service. Lorenzo does not only go about his task of bringing about the AI technology to make the carabao pregnant but also goes on educating the farmers on how to take care and manage their animals. He also makes certain that what he does in his job as a tehcnician, he does it in his own backyard to prove that what he is doing with the farmer’s carabao is the same thing that he does with his own animals. He has six dairy carabaos

which he is sure will also serve as a model for the farmers in the neighborhood and

service by government technicians was reduced from Php100,000 to Php 60,000,

other areas and as a proof that carabao dairying indeed pays. He is also helping members of a sugarcane cooperative near his area in their carabao dairying venture. If Lorenzo does well as VBAIT, there are many others like him who are now situated in different strategic places in the country. In Region III, nine VBAITs were cited in 2010 as “best performers”. They were Cornelio Agustin of Kinalanguyan, Talavera; Marvin Tudla of Talipapa Norte, Cabanatuan City;Sernan Pelayo of San Juan, Aliaga; Walter Hernandez of La Torre, Talavera; Adonis dela Peña of Langla, Jaen; Reymundo Relucio of Ilog Baliwag, Quezon; Ronaldo Valdez of Calabalabaan, Science City of Muñoz, Jeffrey Cabbab, San Isidro, Zaragoza, all in Nueva Ecija, and Eduardo Manuzon, New Batasan, San Miguel, Bulacan. In Ilocos Norte, the PCC at MMSU has guided 17 well-performing VBAITS. Their coverage area includes not only Ilocos Norte but the outlying provinces of Ilocos Sur and Abra. Their services led to the reduction of the cost in the conduct of AI by government technicians. In 2006-2007, the cost of conducting AI

according to a PCC report. Then in 20082009, it was down to Php 45,000. Dr. Felomino Mamuad, PCC deputy executive director, who is in-charge of handling the affairs of the VBAITs in terms of training and providing their needed equipment and supply of frozen semen, said several more VBAITs are sure to be taking care of the need of farmers for the AI service of their carabaos as implementation of the AI program nationwide is intensified. Some 2,000 VBAITS are expected to be accredited by PCC in the near future. Many of them will be situated in Visayas and Mindanao areas determined as having a great potential for dairy carabao production for milk production and other business enterprises. This is one aspect in the carabao improvement program in which job opportunities in the countryside has been opening up. Of course, there are other job opportunities related to carabao development which are now being enjoyed by numerous formerly unemployed manpower, men and women alike.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala (left) hands over to a newly-trained village-based AI technician a liquid nitrogen tank for use in AI treatment of breedable carabaos.


Assistance to post production processing and marketing If there is now a small dairy processing model that should be looked into for the various lessons that it can offer, it should be the PCC-CLSU Products Outlet. It was established on the campus of the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in the Science City of Mu単oz in 2003 to promote technologies on dairy products development and marketing particularly among promising dairy cooperatives. It is a village-type processing entity whose equipment can be obtained readily and can process 100 to 120 liters of milk per day. The primary equipment include gas stove with gas tank, cooking utensils that include wooden spoon, big frying pan, casserole, milk buckets, trays and stirrer;

PCC at CLSU products outlet


Businessing the Carabao

freezer and cooking tank for storage and as cooling bath, weighing scale for accurate measurement of products, measuring cup and spoons for measurement of ingredients, packaging materials such as bottles, sachets or pouch for liquid products, cellophane for pastillas and pulvoran, and labels, disinfectants for bottles and the work area, and hand sanitizer for hand sanitation applied every 20 minutes. Its modest retail shop is set-up grocery-style for easy access by the consumers. Ready to process milk is supplied by the PCC Gene Pool, PCC at CLSU dairy farm, and the farmers from different cooperatives. Raw milk is procured at Php 40 per liter. Its products line includes pasteurized milk, choco milk, white cheese, yogurt, lacto juice, pastillas de leche, pulvoron, ricotta, mozzarella cheese, butter, and quark cheese.

Some of the milk products at the PCC at CLSU Products Outlet (upper panel); some of the customers lining up for their transactions (lower left photo); and the production of milk products in the dairy plant. So saleable its products that this outlet can easily gross P6 million to P7 million a year.


Ten staff members man the affairs of the PCC-CLSU Products Outlet. Its gross income per year amounts to Php 6 million. Mrs. Mina Padilla-Abella, its manager, said: “We believe that when you add value to the milk, you get more profit out of it.” She said that the PCC-CLSU Product Outlet, as a techno-demo business outfit, is not just about producing products for sale but “showcasing the viability of operating this kind of business”. She said their office is always ready to train interested parties who want to replicate what they are doing.

Central processing plant and products outlet A facility, like no other yet, which is dedicated for a bigger scale processing of carabao’s milk into various products, is the Central Dairy Processing Plant and Products Outlet. Built along the Maharlika Highway, in the PCC compound, the facility has a floor area of 2,363 square meters with enough parking area.


Businessing the Carabao

The newly-constructed Central Processing Plant and Products Outlet.

The main objective of the set-up is to serve as the facility to assist post production concerns of the many dairy producers cooperative north of Manila. It will also serve as processing as well as marketing facilities to enable the dairy producers ensure value-added and marketing for their produce. Customers and visitors can see through the glass paneled rooms the entire process of milk products production from milking to processing to packaging and other steps involved in products processing when they come in to the plant and products outlet. As to its operation, a quasigovernment entity is favored. With it, it is expected to be boosting efforts toward increased production of milk by smallholder farmers, efficient marketing of their produce, and showcasing a vibrant carabao-based enterprise. The full operation of the processing plant and daily is expected to inspire the establishment of a similar entity, whether thru government intervention or thru private initiatives, in various parts of the country.

Surface scratching Out there, in many others areas in the country, there are many other stories of how carabao-based enterprises are put to good use and for beneficial advantages. What has been presented were representative stories and therefore can be considered as just scratching the surface presentations of the real picture obtaining now in the realm of businessing the carabao. These stories are just teasers for others. Nevertheless, they already portray excellence in the field of carabaobased industries. It will take more efforts to fully

how they flourished, and how they changed the lives of the respective entrepreneurs or the men behind the enterprise. One thing clear, though, is that businessing the carabao offers a wide window of opportunity for those who are convinced that it is for them for the taking. In fact, the road ahead for the carabao-based industry is strewn with beautiful promise. A road map for the improved breed of carabaos and carabao-based industries has already been charted.

document how they started their enterprises, how they go about them,

“The full operation of the Central Processing Plant and Products Outlet will ensure the smallholder dairy producers north of Manila a means to put value-added and ready market for their produce.�



Businessing the Carabao

Mapping-out the Road to the Future


OUT there in a remote rural community in a town in a northern Luzon province, a farmer visited the shed where he is keeping his carabao. Seeing his animal, his face lit up and a smile instantly flashed on his lips. He could not help but be happy whenever he sees his carabao. It is decidedly different from the carabao he used to own. It is bigger, heavier, and meatier. In another village in a town in a southern Luzon province, the farmers were milking their dairy carabao. It was nearing 5:00 a.m. and in a short while more, they will complete milking their two to three carabaos. The white liquid flows in big volume, much more abundant than what the animals they used to milk before yielded. They knew at heart that soon the milk collector from the cooperative will come and collect the containers full of milk and that’s it. All that they have to do next is cut the fodder for their animals, feed the animals, and hie off to the town proper and then collect the payment for their milk harvest in their coop’s office. They are certainly happy about their daily regimen. Cash flows to them daily unlike before when they relied on the rice harvest from their farm which provided them cash money only at the end of a three-month, or a little longer, period. Their happiness is shared by many other cooperative members in Nueva Ecija who belong to the federation of dairy carabaos cooperative. And so with the members of the San Isidro Multi-purpose Cooperative in Rangayan, Alamada, Cotabato in Mindanao and the Baybay Dairy Farmers’


In a span of only 18 years, the carabao, which for centuries was relied and used mainly for its draft and transport power, has now a different importance in Philippine setting. Association in Baybay, Leyte in Eastern Visayas who are also enjoying the benefit of daily milking of their dairy carabaos. There are thousands more of the farmers who either own crossbreds or purebred dairy animals which are made available to them under the carabao improvement program in the country. In a span of only 18 years, the carabao, which for centuries was relied and used mainly for its draft and transport power, has now a different importance in Philippine setting. This importance is readily seen and felt particularly by the people in the rural areas. It is a truism that when something beneficial is seen and felt by the people, especially if it is within their experience and not very costly, there is no need to make elaborate and expensive programs


Businessing the Carabao

to propagate it. It will spread like wildfire and the people will adopt it. For sure, the PCC has done much in addressing the concerns about improving the carabao. It has already developed the technologies and it has the mechanism to apply the technologies for improving the breed of the carabao. It developed the appropriate knowledge and skills needed for the proper care and management of the animal and these are being assiduously transferred to the intended beneficiaries. The development plan for profitable and sustainable carabao-based enterprises have already been accomplished and smallhold farmers and their families are continuously being given trainings in the aspect of organizational development, dairy buffalo husbandry, and production and marketing of the milk products. These are being done in collaboration or partnership with primary cooperatives, national and local government agencies units, and private entities. In short, the machinery for the improvement of the carabao is already in place and the encouragement for establishing carabao-based enterprises has been given felicitous propulsions. PCC has now the capability and the confidence to carry out the research

Prepared carabao meat food ready for eating.

works in all disciplines related to carabao improvement and the works related to the utilization of the carabao for the varied benefits that it can give particularly among residents of rural communities. The strong linkages that the PCC has established with state universities, international bodies, local government units and private agencies and individuals add up to the capabilities of PCC to pursue its mandate according to the law.

What more should be done? Plenty. In the first place, the carabao improvement program and its equally important programs of capitalizing on the improved carabaos for bigger gains are not for a few years only. They have been set not for scores of years, or hundreds of years, but for an infinite period of time for as long as the carabao is in existence and the benefits that it can give to mankind are sustainable.

Some of the fundamentals for a larger program for carabao improvement and carabao-based enterprises, particularly regarding milk and meat, have already been delineated and are set to be pursued.

“Mr. Moo’s� kiosk in Tagaytay City.

Road map But of course, the improvement of the carabao and the derivation of the products that it can offer are not purported to solve nor narrow to a large extent the problem about the supply and demand for milk and meat in the country. They are huge concerns that cannot be resolve in just few decades. In the case of milk, for example, the country has been importing about 98 per cent of this commodity mostly in powdered form. The import in 2008 for liquid and powdered milk, including milk products, records indicated, amounted to US$712 million. At the exchange rate of P45 to a dollar, that amount translated to P32.04 billion. A gargantuan amount, indeed, which was a big drain on the


and meat, and equally conscious of the fact that the need for these commodities provides big opportunities for income generation, the stakeholders in the ruminants’ industries in the country met and held consultations. They included officials from the Department of Agriculture composed of the members of the executive committee and representatives from the DA’s regional field units, the Philippine Carabao Center, National Dairy Authority, Livestock Development Council, Bureau of Animal Industry, and National Meat Inspection Service, the academe, and the private sector. The private sector was represented by national organizations

Copies of the roadmap for the animal ruminant industry in the country as developed by the stakeholders.


country’s dollar reserve and could have been paid to our rural families if only we have the basic dairying in place. The country has also been importing ruminant animals’ meat like beef and carabeef. It was reported that about one-half to a little over one-half of the needs for beef and carabao’s meat in the country are sourced from abroad. They, too, entail huge expense and a drain to the country’s coffers. Aware of the need to add up to the local supply of animal ruminants’ milk

Businessing the Carabao

that included the Dairy Confederation of the Philippines (Dairycon), the beef cattle sub-sector represented by the Federation of Cattle Raisers of the Philippines (FCRAP), Large Animal Raisers of Mindanao, Federation of Goat and Sheep Producers Association of the Philippines (FGASPAP), United Small Ruminant Raisers Association (USRRA), the Philippine Association of Meat Processors, Inc. (PAMPI), and Meat Importers and Traders Association. The Mandala Agricultural Development Corporation (MADECOR), a private agency, was the facilitator of the consultation meetings and integrated the concepts, strategies, and activities that came out of the meetings. The results were consolidated and synthesized into “Ruminant Animal Industry Road map, 2010-2034.” Definitely, the road map, whose acronym is RAIRM, has its goal and specific objectives. It must be understood that in realizing these goals and objectives, the contribution of the water buffalo or the carabao is but a portion. The ruminants included in the plan are dairy water buffalo, dairy cattle, goat and sheep.

The goal of the RAIRM:

“To invigorate the rural economy by promoting enterprise development along the value chain; develop highvalue animal-derived products for local and export markets; improve nutrition and promote healthy lifestyle�.

The specific objectives are: l self-sufficiency in ready-to-drink (RTD) milk within one MTDP (Medium Term Development Plan), and in RTD milk and curd requirement within two MTDP periods; l maintain local supply of red (ruminant) meat per capita in the medium term and increase by 50% in the long term; l 5% increase in animal productivity for the first 6 years; 10 % for the next 6 years; l average annual increase in population of 2% in cattle and carabao, 5% in goat and 10% in sheep; l average daily family income of smallholder beneficiaries of at least twice the minimum wage; and l 10% of the smallholder beneficiaries evolving into successful entrepreneurs.


Expect thousands more of this kind of dairy animal in the country as the road map for the carabao industry has been jointly developed by the stakeholders.


The carabao is looked up under the road map for the ruminant animal industry as one of the major contributors for milk production in the country and in the supply of red meat. Necessarily, as the target beneficiaries of the dairy carabao increases within the program periods by phase, the production of milk also increases. The milk production of the dairy buffaloes by 2016 in terms of liquid milk equivalent is estimated to be at 22.1 million liters; by 2022, 144.1 million liters; by 2028, 530.1 million liters; and 851.7 million liters by 2034. The total milk contributed by the carababo in 24 years is estimated at 7,119.5 million liters which is 60 per cent of the total milk output expected from cattle, carabao, and goat. In meat production, the country’s water buffalo shall have contributed a total of 5,903,500 metric tons. Divided into phases, the contribution in meat by the water buffalo is estimated as follows: 191,100 metric tons in 2016, 228,500 mt in 2022, 273,200 in 2028, and 345,100 mt in 2034.

Businessing the Carabao

Aside from increasing the number of smallholders and owners of semicommercial farms, several jobs and livelihood projects can be generated. The economic well-being of the people involved in the program will be enhanced, proper nutrition in the family can be aptly addressed, and by and large, it will help the rural communities, as well as the environment, improve accordingly and considerably. The opportunities for employment will be in the areas of jobs related to artificial insemination services; rearing and herding, feed production, feed collection, milk collection, products development, and marketing.

Strategies for implementation It must be understood that key premises were highly considered in devising the strategies for implementation for the animal ruminant industry road map . These key premises,

which applied for the water buffalo, were: (a). arrest of population depletion through continuous importation of carabeef, (b). increased productivity through genetic improvement and application of appropriate technology; and (c). strategic investment in critical support services and infrastructure. Informed policies were used as guide in the implementation of the strategies. These policies were: • Contract breeding with private sector with the government retaining ownership of breeding animals; • Market-driven pricing structure where transfer of price of offspring includes amortization of breeders cost and financing charges; • Involvement of LGUs in financing and operation of a livestock leasing program instead of “dispersals”; and • Convergence of development intervention in priority cluster or zones (e.g. National Impact Zones (NIZ) and the Dairy Development Zones (DDZ)

and commitment of multi-year program/ budget. Herd development and productivity enhancement will be done through two schemes. One is through importation of pregnant Murrah buffalo heifers and through the first offspring in the crossbreeding program which will be used as surrogate dams for embryo transfer technology using imported frozen embryos of Nili Ravi breed of water buffaloes from Pakistan. This breed is also one of the outstanding breeds of dairy carabao in the world. For the distribution of the stock, dairy buffalo contract breeding scheme will be instituted. Under this scheme, it will follow two approaches, one of them through the smallholder farmers and the other through large-scale enterprises. Before turning over the breeder animals to them, they are to be confirmed inseminated with desired genetics and certified to be pregnant. Potential smallholder contract breeders will be provided with at least


five pregnant heifers. They will be pre-qualified by determining that they belong to existing cooperatives or if not, they are willing to be members of any cooperative engaged in dairy production of buffalo. They will sign a contract after passing the criteria and are willing to execute a contract agreement with the agency. They will then undergo social preparation, orientation and training. In the commercial contract breeding of Murrah buffalo, up to 1,000 buffalo females will be given to the selected contractor. He or she shall have excess or unutilized feedlot capacities, existing functional livestock farms or ranch, ready supply of processing by-products or

also be asked to absorb the surplus milk production of small dairy farmers. The ownership of the animal will be retained by the government. The female offspring, except those that will be intended for the replacement of the stock, will remain under the ownership of the government and will be used for distribution to qualified recipients. The male offspring can be sold by the beneficiaries under certain terms and conditions. Coordination of the RAIRM program is entrusted to the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture who will run it through the Undersecretary for Fisheries, Livestock, and Regulation with

plantation over runs or farm wastes such as livestock feed; and have resources to put up the necessary milk or meat processing facility or plant. They may

the participation of various agencies, industry groups, and state colleges and universities. The recommended composition of this body and the main roles of each are as follows: Undersecretary for Fisheries, Livestock and Regulation – overall coordination; DA assistant secretary for regional operations – regional field units farms and liaison; Livestock Development Council executive director – planning and policy formulation; Bureau of Animal Industry director –health, animal disease research, monitoring and control; National Dairy Authority administrator – dairy processing, marketing and quality assurance; PCC executive director – farm management, breeding, and genetics improvement; Philippine Coconut Authority administrator – livestock in coconut lands; Department of Agrarian Reform undersecretary for operations – agrarian reform communities and clusters concerns; Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Forest Management Bureau director – pasture leases; National Mapping Resource Information Authority - land use planning;

In the know • The country imports about 99% of its milk and other dairy products needs annually. • Of this importation, about 84% is in the form of powdered milk. • Translated into peso value, the amount used for milk and milk products importation runs into billions of pesos annually. In 2008, for example, the import value for milk and milk products amounted to US$ 712 million. At P45 to a dollar, this translated to Php31.940 billion. • Only about 35% of the total liquid milk supply in the country is from domestic production. Their sources are from dairy-type buffaloes, cattle and goats. • For carabeef, the country imports about 50 % of the needed supply in the country. (Source: Ruminant Animal Industry Road Map, 2010-2034)


Businessing the Carabao

Comparative Projections (in 1,000 head) Milking animals


Buffalo Cattle Goat




% share

58 158 266 381 10.3 47 112 200 353 10.0 34 153 675 2,958 79.7

Milk production of dairy animals (in 1,000 MT) Carabao 22.1 144.1 530.1 Cattle 17.2 73.6 152.1 Goat 4.0 23.2 106.0

851.7 388.5 467.8

60% 22% 18

Milk production from upgraded backyard herd (in million liters) Carabao 13 55 221 Cattle 57 350 695 Goat 0.7 9.7 46 06

61% 22% 17%

Meat production of ruminants (in 1,000 MT) Carabeef 191.1 228.5 Beef 113.5 135.7 Chevon 53.1 71.8 Mutton 1.5 2.7

51% 31% 17% 1%

273.2 172.1 97. 2 4.9

345.1 218.3 130.3 8.6

(Source: RAIM, 2010-2034)

Philippine Private Sector Dairy and Meat Production council chair – private sector concerns; National Agriculture and Fisheries Education Systems president, state colleges and universities concerned, various farm modules and national agriculture and Fishery Council chair – secretariat. Funding requirement for the concerned ruminant animals and other expenses and costs have been detailed in the program plan.

Significant outputs 1) Established GIP system with Gene Pool for Riverines and Philippine Carabao for sustained production of superior stocks • With data capture and evaluation system

• Progeny testing to select best sires for milk production • Operational semen processing laboratory that supply national AI system • Established five AI training centers that train AI technicians of local government agencies, national government agencies, national government organizations, and privatized system that introduce VBAITs leading to privatization of AI in the country • Systems to produce good quality breeders stocks 2) Installed cryobanking to ensure future requirements for genetic materials covering other species as well 3) Established network of 13 centers all over to disseminate technologies and assist in enterprise development to small-holder farmers 4) Established and operationalized R&D laboratories for generation of


Stakeholders of the carabao development plan of Nueva Ecija came out with a design that will lead to a claim for the title “Dairy Capital of the Philippines” for the province.

suitable technologies with highly trained scientists 5) Established institutional linkages with international R&D institutes and also other national agencies 6)Established National Impact Zone and Regional Impact Zones where buffalo-based enterprises are fully demonstrated to be socially, financially, economically, and environmentally stable

Nueva Ecija initiatives:

A model for development It is inevitable to mention Nueva Ecija whenever businessing the carabao is mentioned. It, after all, has a story to tell, lessons to enumerate based on its experiences, and a framework to show that are intended to be achieved in the coming years in carabao dairying, particularly. The stakeholders of carabao dairying in Nueva Ecija, which is the designated national impact zone, met on August 2 -3, 2010 and came out with the “Nueva Ecija Dairy Development Plan, 20102015”. Its overlying theme is “Toward


Businessing the Carabao

stronger convergence for Nueva Ecija’s Dairy Buffalo Entrepreneurship Program”. It took stock from the achievements scored in the province and the lessons learned from only a few years of carabao dairying carried out through the dairy cooperatives. Nueva Ecija, it must be emphasized, has been, since time immemorial, largely a rice producing province and in fact remains as the premiere rice producing province in the country. Almost all the communities in the province could be considered nontraditional dairying communities. In 1999, after a series of consultation and coordination works with the provincial governor, the congressmen and the mayors of Nueva Ecija, the PCC designated the province as the national impact zone for dairy buffalo enterprise. The 25-cow dairy module was agreed as the main element in hastening the establishment of a robust carabaobased enterprise in the province. There were 40 primary cooperatives, with 25 members each, that were formed but only 36 continued operating and found their mark in the industry. After three years from

the date of formation, the cooperatives banded themselves into a federation, the Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperatives (NEFEDCCO) which became the marketing arm of the member-cooperatives. Also established and fully operating in the province is the Carabao-based Development Foundation, Inc. (CbDFI). With 566 members, it was able to generate P500,000 which is utilized for its “buy-back project�. Under this project, the carabaos which are being sold by the farmers in the national impact zone are being reacquired for loan to qualified members under certain rules and conditions. This undertaking

Over the years, the original 1,000 dairy buffaloes distributed on loan basis to the members multiplied to 3,365 head. The total volume of milk produced by the cooperatives was 1.74 million liters valued at Php 62.7 million. It benefited directly 1,300 farmer-members and hundreds of individuals and families who are engaged in the milk collection processing, distribution, feed production and related activities. More than the incomes the members got from the venture, it provided a dramatic change of attitude from a low regard then to carabao dairying, when they were still milking their native carabaos, to a high recognition of the fact that carabao

saves the good genetic materials that are supposed to go to slaughterhouses and at the same time help the farmerowners bail out from their immediate need of cash for certain emergencies. Trainings, venture-marketing, and technical services are also provided by the foundation. Indeed, the achievements in carabao dairying in Nueva Ecija could be said as something very exhilarating as borne by the facts brought out by stakeholders:

dairying can be a sustainable source of additional income for the smallhold farmers like them. If before they had to wait for at least three months to see the face of money from their grinding toil of cultivating the land, planting, caring and managing the plants, harvesting the rice grains, and pleading for higher buying price for their harvest, now with daily milking of their lactating carabaos they experience the unprecedented seeing the color of money on a daily basis.

PCC has set up a mechanized milking machine for faster and sanitary way of milking the elite breed of dairy water buffaloes in the National Gene Pool.


“In Nueva Ecija, there are more than 5,000 breedable female crossbreds and close to 5,000 purebred dairy breed.”

These senarios - that of milking the carabao, milk processing, selling fresh milk and processed milk products and training the young to drink milk are repeated elsewhere in the country. They will multiply several folds more as carabao development and carabao-based enterprises go on.


In developing the “Nueva Ecija Medium-term Development Plan”, the stakeholders considered the lessons already learned from the dairy buffalo enterprise in the province. They summed up the lessons this way: The carabao remains an economic instrument of the overall framework. Animal management must be anchored on nutritional improvement in as far as it basically influences the generation of milk as source of income of families involved in the program.

Businessing the Carabao

The carabaos and the dairy enterprise must be placed in a farmer’s life and priorities. The carabao is traditionally an element of the farming system as a source of draft power. Thus, the dairy carabao must not be viewed as an independent commodity. Improved production management can be re-emphasized following pragmatic science-based system. Dairying is affected by technical parameters. Gaps manifested in production can be addressed by technologies once appropriately transferred and adopted. However, changing traditional farmers’ practice is driven by a “wait and see” attitude. Replicates of farmer models using the right technologies must be evident and strategically accessible to most farmerpartners. Community mobilization should be emphasized in affordable and resultoriented manner. The critical participation of NIZ partners should be encouraged most at the LGU level. As the host of the modules, synchronized participation must be more focused on areas where they are familiar with and not deviating from their regular activities, priorities and resources.

Social development programs anchored on smallhold farming communities require continuing and reflexive government participation. Program evaluation must be participatory and facilitated at the level of dairy subsector development in terms of its effects at the municipal level, and Capacitating NEFEDCCO to become an excellent producer of quality milk and animals must be given important attention. The expanding dairy subsector in the province requires more private investors and proactive public initiatives and beyond NEFEDCCO’s capacity. After taking stock from what took place in the dairy buffalo enterprise in Nueva Ecija and the lessons learned from its past experiences, the stakeholders framed up a plan that will further “intensify carabao-based dairy enterprise development” in the province. Based on developed plan, Nueva Ecija moves further ahead in dairy buffalo entrepreneurship program. Targeted to be achieved by 2015 is a herd buildup of 13,982 female and 4,317 male Bulgarian Murrah buffaloes or a total of 18,299. This number is seven times more

A chairman of one of the new dairy cooperatives in Nueva Ecija receives from DA Secretary Proceso Alcala (third from left) the papers for a 25dairy carabao incubator module. At left are Mayor Marivic Belena of San Jose City and Rep. Joseph Violago of the 2nd district of Nueva Ecija.

“Target milk production in Nueva Ecija starting in 2011 is 2,184,000 liters and by 2014, 5,992,200 liters. With a selling price of only Php36 per liter, it will amount to Php 302.011 million.” than the current total inventory in the province. In so far as crossbred is concerned, the AI services and the bull loan program will be intensified to produce as many crossbreds as possible. The owners of the crossbreds will be enticed to join the dairy loop by joining as members of the existing dairy cooperatives in their respective areas. The target milk production by 2015 is a total of 8,389,200 liters from the current 563,692 liters with projected production volumes of 2,184,000 liters in



A great future indeed lies ahead as this PCC poster about the carabao purports to show and tell.

2011, 3,057,6000 in 2012, 4,280,400 in 2013, and 5,992,200 liters in 2014. Priced at P36 per liter, the milk production in Nueva Ecija by 2015 will be a whopping Php302,011,200. A lot of money, indeed. The initiatives are on-going in the province toward institutionalizing regular supply of quality carabao’s milk and milk products in big volume, being a dominant source of genetically improved carabaos, establishing complimentary and ancillary dairy enterprises and having a localized carabao development program. With the initiatives all planned out, there is one lofty dream that the stakeholders in the province want to achieve for Nueva Ecija, which is to be declared as the “Dairy Capital of the Philippines”. The way it is moving on, that dream may be achieved in due time.

Businessized carabao Don’t look now. The lowly carabao – invariably described as the farmers’ ally in the field, intractable but reliable animal, walking fertilizer factory, live tractor in


Businessing the Carabao

the farm, and live engine for a transport facility in rural areas – has catapulted to a very important place as a fountain for a far more improved life of the rural farming families and the rural communities as well as an engine for thriving businesses of entrepreneurs. Once a neglected animal, the carabao has received the attention and care it needs. It is now improving in terms of its breed and it is still improving. The research and development programs on all aspects of the Carabao Development Program, being carried out by the PCC, goes on and on and more breakthroughs are expected. The market is wide for carabao-based products. The smallhold farmers are not only ready but in fact raring to have a big share in the world of carabao development and savor the sweet benefits of “businessized” carabaos. And, the road is now all mapped out for a smoother move forward of a vigorous and sustainable carabao-based industry in the country. By the looks of it, “businessing” the carabao is another new wave in the countryside today. No one is arguing against a businessized carabao. Nor will there be one in the future. For that will be a huge mistake. Indeed.

Intensified Regional Impact Zones initiatives The Regional Impact Zones (RIZ), whose developments are taken cared of by the PCC’s regional centers, are fast becoming smaller versions of the National Impact Zones. Theoretically, a regional center helps identify and develop one impact zone within its sphere of operation. But as many LGUs have seen the bright prospect s of carabao-based enterprises, many of the centers are now having two or more impact zones. These RIZs, like the NIZ, have long-range breeding plan of crossing the female native carabaos with the purebred riverine breed either thru AI or with loaned out bulls and continuously backcrossing the female of the resulting crossbreeds with purebred riverine to produce close-to-purebred water buffaloes. The products of this breeding initiatives become the breeding base and dairy animals for various carabao-based enterprises. As of December 2010, a total of 37,552 water buffaloes, which included crossbreds, purebreds and native animals, had been counted as already constituting the breeding base in the RIZs. Of the total water buffaloes counted in the census, 21,196 or 56 % are females. The regional centers are continuously providing support to various partner entities, like the cooperatives, government institutions, and nongovernment organization situated in the RIZs. The support is in the form of provision of breeding stocks, capacitybuilding, organizational development, animal breeding, and animal health services, technical assistance, and market linkages.

Now that the efforts related to production, processing, and marketing in San Agustin, Isabela have been packaged into a project titled “Transforming San Agustin as a Dairy Community Utilizing Crossbred Buffaloes�, similar initiatives are now taking place in several provinces. In Pampanga, the PCC at CLSU, the office of the PCC executive, the provincial government through its provincial veterinary office and office of the provincial agriculturist, the local government units of Magalang, Mabalacat and Arayat, Pampanga Agricultural College, and Bucluran Memalen Capampangan have submitted the project proposal to the provincial governor for funding and approval. The Tarlac provincial government has also taken initiatives for a similar project in that province.


References Alexiev, A.I. 1998. The Water Buffalo.Sofia: St. Kliment Ohridski University Press Borghese, A. 2005. Buffalo Production and Researtch. FAO Regional Office for Europe Buffalo meat Recipe: a compilation. 2006, Philippine Carabao Center, Department of Agriculture (PCC-DA) and Animal Products Development Center, Bureau of Animal Industry (APDC_BAI) Bumanlag, R. G. 2010. PCC Gains Headway in Livestock Biotechnology. PCC Newsletter, Vol. IX, No.1. 5 pages. Philippine Carabao Center, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Philippines Bumanlag, R. G. 2010. Carabao Raiser Now Sports Posh SUV, Hefty Pocket, PCC Newsletter, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2 pages, Philippine Carabao Center, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Philippines Bumanlag, R. G. 2010. The Dairy Farmers of Cavite: Cash-strapped No More and GenTri’s Best: Dairy Farmers Best , PCC Newsletter, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2 & 3 pages, respectively, Philippine Carabao Center, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Philippines Carabao Production in the Philippine, Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines: PCARRD and FAO-UNDP (PHI/86/005 Field Documents No. 13):1992.235 p. Cruz, L. C. Oct. 2004. The Carabao Development Program. Asian Buffalo Magazine, pp. 4 – 11 Del Barrio, LAM (et al). 2009. Molecular Characterization of the Philippine Carabao (Bubalus bubalis L.) from the Major Island Group of the Philippines Using Molecular Cloning and Sequence Analysis of the D-Loop of Mitochondrial DNA. Student Thesis. Faarungsang, S. Thai Swamp Buffalo General Information, Department of Animal Science, Kaseertsart University, Thailand, (Accessed January 9, 2010) http://www. 1 Thai pdf Fausto, D. V. 2005. Dare to Dream: A Filipino Entrepreneur’s Tale of Success in Dairy Farming. Leading Edge for Excellence, Mandaluyong City, Philippines Faylon, P.S. 1996. Carabao Development in the Philippines, PCARRD/FAO. Los Baños, Laguna


Businessing the Carabao

Food and Fertilizer Technology Center for the Asian and Pacific Region (compilation).1975. The Asiatic Water Buffalo, Taiwan, Republic of China Goyagoy, J. G. 2010. The Housewives of Calabalabaan: “Carabao Dairying Makes Our Daily Lives a Breeze, PCC Newsletter, Vol. 9, No. 2, 3 pages, Philippine Carabao Center, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija Intensifying Carabao-based Enterprise Development, Nueva Ecija Dairy Development Plan, CY 2010-2015, Philippine Carabao Center, August 2-3, 2010, Brentwood Apartelle, Baguio City Inter-Regional Cooperative Researfch Network on Buffalo (Escorena). Accessed December 2, 2009): Roque, A. S. (et al.) 2009. San Agustin: Rising High on the ‘Nuang’ (Carabao). Philippine Carabao Center, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, Philippines Schmidt, LS 1982. American Involvement in the Filipino Resistance on Mindanao During the Japanese Occupation, 1942- 1945. MS Thesis, U.S. Army Command & General Staff College The Philippine Recommends for Buffalo Production.2002. Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development. Philippine Recommends Series No. 37-A. The Water Buffalo: New Prospects for an Underutilized Animal, 1984. (Accessed December 2, 2009) http/ SHO17edel1d 391b 55fe64122916.8 The Philippine Recommends for Carabao Production.PCARRD.1978 Toelihere , M. R. 1975. Physiology of Reproduction and Artificial Insemination of Water Buffaloes, pp. 101-137. The Asiatic Water Buffalo, FTCAPR, Taiwan, Tulloh, N.M. and Holmes, J.H., 1992. Buffalo Production, 505 pp. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers. 16-year Milestone of PCC.2009. Souvenir Program, 16th Anniversary Celebration Water Buffalo. (Accessed February 1,2010)



Businessing the Carabao

About the Author Anselmo S. Roque, Ph. D., is a correspondent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and is currently helping young writers hone their skills in writing. He has been in the writing profession for more than 45 years. He also worked as a professor of the Central Luzon State University and for sometime was a division supervisor in the Schools Division of Nueva Ecija. He is a triple “Hall of Fame” awardee - as “Agricultural Journalist in English” and “Agricultural Journalist in Pilipino” from the Philippine Agricultural Journalists, Inc. and as “Professional Media Hall of Fame Awardee – Print Category” given by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD). He has reaped more than 30 awards and recognition in writing news and feature stories, short stories, essays, and drama in English and Pilipino. Among these awards were in the Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, Cultural Center of the Philippines drama writing, Jose Burgos Biotech Journalism Award, Philippine National Red Cross essay writing, Rotary Club of Manila, and others. He has written, as single author, six books and co-authored three others. This book is his third in PCC. Aside from writing and mentoring young writers, he is in rice farming and lives with the farmers in a farming village in the Science City of Muñoz.


Brief History In 1992, after the PCARRD-coordinated UNDP-FAO project, the Philippine government realized the need to institutionalize the Carabao Development Program. Through Republic Act 7307, better known as the Philippine Carabao Act of 1992, the Philippine Carabao Center was born. The law was signed on March 27, 1992 and operationalized on April 1, 1993. National Headquarters and Gene Pool Science City of Munoz, 3120 Nueva Ecija Philippines Tel. No. 63(044) 456-0731 to 34 | Fax No. 63(044) 456-0730 Email: Manila Liaison Office 5F DCIEC Building, NIA Complex, EDSA, Quezon City, Philippines Tel. No. 63(02) 926-7707 | Fax No. 63(02) 921-3863 Email:

Businessing the Carabao  

This book, however, is not yet a complete documentation of the successes achieved so far but a presentation of how a number of people have m...

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