Tuesday, May 21, 2024

‘Kalabaw’ Fest Celebrates Success Of Dairy Industry In Pangasinan Town


‘Kalabaw’ Fest Celebrates Success Of Dairy Industry In Pangasinan Town


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Residents of the small village of Bantog in this town were in a festive mood on Friday as they celebrated the first ever Kalabaw Food Festival.

The Bantog Samahang Nayon Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BSNMPC), together with the municipal government, spearheaded the holding of the event to mark the success of the local dairy production.

“Hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala (I still cannot believe this),” BSNMPC chairman Rolly Mateo Sr. said in his speech, as he recalled the hardships they went through before the industry attained success.


Road to success

He relayed that way back in 2009, the cooperative started with only a PHP10,000 capital and many payables in the bank.

Mateo said from over 200 members at the start, they now have 300 who are all committed to the group.

Fast forward to their first Kalabaw Food Festival, he said they have allotted PHP500,000 from the cooperative’s funds for the festivities.

Mateo said they are grateful to national government agencies and the municipal government who have helped them since they started in 2009.

He said that at present, the BSNMPC has assets amounting to over PHP100 million.

Last year alone, they earned PHP26 million from their contracts with the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for 50,000 liters of carabao milk.

Mateo said they now have a total of 900 carabaos, of which 90 are milking.

He said they target to increase their production to 500 liters per day from the 180 to 200 liters daily production at present.

BSNMPC’s latest achievement is the construction of a PHP10.5-million building and warehouse on a six-hectare land it procured from its earnings.

“We would like to encourage our kababayans (townmates) to try dairy production to elevate their livelihood,” Mateo said in Filipino.


Beginnings and future plans

Mayor Carlos Lopez Jr., in his speech during the opening ceremony, said the success of the dairy production industry in their town through the BSNMPC started during the pandemic.

“A truckload of carabao milk was distributed to the residents since they cannot sell it due to the lockdowns but through social media, they were made known to national government agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Education (DepEd) which launched them huge contracts for their feeding programs,” he said in Filipino.

Lopez urged the cooperative to maintain its honest conduct of business even as he assured of the local government unit’s continued support to the group.

He said the municipal government plans to incorporate dairy production in the town’s agri-tourism projects in the near future.

“There would be a tour to their production facility to show tourists how the dairy products are made,” he said.

For her part, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Pangasinan provincial director Natalia Dalaten said the success of the cooperative was a product of a whole-of-government approach, to which Mateo agreed.

Dalaten said DTI has provided different types of training and equipment to the BSNMPC, with the help of other national government agencies.

The latest equipment they gave was a freezer van, a milk processor, and a meat processor for carabeef products, she said.

Gloria dela Cruz, former Philippine Carabao Center director, congratulated the cooperative and the town for staging the 1st Kalabaw Food Festival.

“It started in 1978 when it was a challenge to grow the cooperative in the dairy production but through your initiative, it has happened,” she said in Filipino.

The Kalabaw Food Festival, which runs from April 19 to 21, includes activities like the “Dress Your Buffalo Contest”, ribbon cutting for their new processing building and warehouse, carabeef cooking contest, Nuang (carabao) parade, milk feeding, Zumba dance contest, and a raffle promo where the grand prize is a live carabao. (PNA)