SURALLAH, SOUTH COTABATO - Some 420 graduates received their certificates of completion on February 26, 2020 at Municipal Gym, Surallah, South Cotabato for successfully completing the 16 episodes of the School on the Air (SOA) on Dairy Buffalo Production over local radio stations in South Cotabato. Said graduates are from the municipalities of Surallah, Lake Sebu, T’boli, Banga, Tupi, Tantangan, Norala and Sto. Nino.
This SOA was implemented by the ATI-RTC XII and the Philippine Carabao Center – USM, in close coordination with the Provincial Veterinary Office of South Cotabato and Local Government Units of the eight municipalities involved.
The SOA, which was launched on October 9, 2019, aimed to teach the smallholdricuker buffalo raisers about buffalo dairy production to encourage more farmers to go into dairy farming. More so, the goal is to create sustainable livelihood, better nutrition and general well-being of small farmers and ensure stable supply of dairy products.
During the 16 weekly episodes, experts from the PCC, PCIC, PVet and DA XII served as resource persons on the following topics on Buffalo Raising and Dairying; Updates on Buffalo Dairying in the Philippines, Nutrition and Health Management, Rearing of Calves, Housing Management, Breeding Management, Common Management Practices, Fodder Production, Grazing and Feed Management, Livestock Insurance, and basic buffalo meat by-products processing.
During the graduation ceremony, farmer-graduates received extension supports in a form of farm tools, forage planting materials, vegetable seeds, among others. Mrs. Jane Harion from the Talufo Sitio Ilocano Farmers & Irrigators' Association (TASIFIAS) in T’boli, South Cotabato bagged the grandest of the prizes, a two year old female buffalo from PCC.
The celebration of this accomplishment was graced by representatives from different DA-line agencies. The ATI-Central Office was represented by Mr. Karl M. Salibio who delivered the message of ATI Dir. Alfredo S. Aton, he asked the graduates to spread the knowledge they learned. He also said that despite the emerging technologies in agricultural extension, SOAs are still an effective tool. Dr. Eric Palacpac, on the other hand, represented the PCC national Office. He expressed his appreciation to the way the SOA was conducted. “This so far is the most organized SOA on Dairy Buffalo Production that the PCC have co-implemented”, he said.
Dir. Abdul I. Daya-an of ATI XII thanked all the people behind the success of the said school on the air. The Municipal Agricultural Officers, Agricultural Technologists, Local Farmer Technicians and staff from DA XII, PCC, Pvet South Cotabato, PCIC, and LGU personnel who were also there to show support to the graduates. He also mentioned the support of the local radio stations, Radyo Bandera in Surallah and Radio Kahiusa in Tupi.
The second part of the program is an open forum, the ATIng-Talakayan. This was where successful dairy buffalo farmers shared their success stories to convince more farmers that there is money in dairy buffalo production. Some of these farmers already produce buffalo milk based products and supply fresh milk to neighbouring municipalities. Questions and other concerns from the graduates were entertained and given clarifications.
Dir. Benjamin Basilio of PCC at USM, as always, emphasized other importance of going into dairy buffalo production. That aside from its profitable value, it also drives nutritive significance. He, along with the other implementers, is hopeful that this SOA have encouraged more livestock raisers to venture into dairy buffalo production.