TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Oct. 6 (PIA)-If it was just like any ordinary convention, many would have called it another government junket.
But, from it, if plans do not miscarry, the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) at the Ubay Stock Farm (USF), authorities would be flying off to Siquijor to present the prospect of a cottage dairy program to marginal farmers and possibly improve lives by adding alternative sources of income for the people there.
During the recent Convention of Region 7's Regional Association of Development Information Officers (RADIO-7CON) held in Panglao, organizers and Bohol hosts adopted a 'travelling convention concept' bringing convention participants to culture and heritage sites and farm tourism destinations in a bid to popularize and mainstream tourism.
The RADIO is supervised by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
Attended by information officers from local government units and national government agencies as well as private establishments and tourism officers across Central Visayas, the RADIOCON visited the PCC in Lomangog Ubay to learn about the economic viability of carabaos in farm tourism and carabao dairy as a potential source of income for farmers.
PCC USF Center Chief Dr. Gondolino Bahinting, in his introduction during the farm visit urged convention participants to help megaphone the good news about carabao dairy farming and tourism options, as a way to allow rural farmers the chance to showcase their farms as tourism destination and interaction areas.
The PCC, according to topic presenter Guillerma Abay-abay, is into animal dispersal programs, and LGUs just might want to help facilitate anti-poverty initiatives in animal and livestock industry.
While the government, through the PCC initially disperses carabaos as draft animal, the mechanization that is slowly transforming the local farm scenes is sidling the farm animals into near threatened to non-use.
Over this, the PCC introduced carabao for dairy, which has the potential to cut the country's dependence on imported dairy from New Zealand and Australia.
"The Philippines imports dairy, because we produce only a little less than 10% of our requirements," Abay-abay pointed out.
"A native carabao, which would be kept for dairy, can produce 2 liters of milk a day, the rest would be food for its calf. But a good imported breed can give between 6 to 8 liters of milk a day, and at Php50 per liter, that would be an additional Php400 for a dairy farmer," Abay-abay told information officers and tourism officers gathered at the PCC conference Hall in Lomangog Ubay, September 20.
"And with the farm animal giving birth to a calf every year, a farmer can have an additional Php20,000 at least for a fattened calf sold after five months," she added.
A Boholano farmer is now tending to 4 milking carabaos, averaging Php1600 a day in income and has since expanded his carabao milking heads.
PCC Center Chief Dr. Gondolino Bahinting exchanges banter with Siquijor Tourism Officer Roselyn Asok and DAR Regional Information Officer Gay Visitacion after the PCC caught the attention of farmer tourism officers for the government carabao farm facility's farm tourism initiatives. (PIA/Bohol)
This same tempting prospect has caught the attention of Maria Siquijor tourism officer and self confessed farmer Roselyn Asoc.
The wife of the town mayor, Asok believes presenting the carabao dairy to her town would greatly improve her people's livelihood incomes.
She has verbally asked PCC through Dr, Bahinting to help her with their town's request.
The PCC could be coming to Siquijor anytime soon, or as soon as the formal requests could be facilitated. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)