Thursday, August 28, 2008

DAR-MinSSAD poured P20M+ on goat projects in Mindanao

Davao - Upgraded and purebred goats where distributed in Mindanao by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) through its Mindanao Sustainable Settlement Area Development (MinSSAD) project as alternative livelihood for CARP beneficiaries. The project was funded by Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

According to Percival C. Dalugdug, the National Project Manager of MinSSAD, there are more than three thousand eight hundred does (3,800+) distributed to at least seven hundred (700) farmers and institutions in Mindanao. Areas covered include Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon, Comval, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, and Dinagat Island.

Five upgraded native does were given to farmer willing to participate on the said subproject. A cluster of five farmers were formed and each cluster was provided with one purebred Anglo Nubian or Boer buck. The animals were procured and distributed to 16 LGU participants and Central Mindanao University (CMU) based in Musuan, Bukidnon.

Prior to the distribution of goats, the farmers were trained at different training institutions like Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center in Bansalan Davao del Sur and nearby State Universities and Colleges. After the training they prepared their goat shed and pasture areas as their equity.

The farmer beneficiaries also have agreed among themselves to contribute an amount and managed by their respective clusters or organizations. Under the supervision of DAR and LGUs, the amount is allotted to buy additional heads in case of animals’ death or for procurement of veterinary drugs. Beneficiaries are also required to pay “in-kind” for every goat received.

The scheme of implementation in MinSSAD project is different compared to other dispersal projects of the government. The original does received by the farmers will be transferred to the next line farmer beneficiary. The original farmer will retain the highly upgraded weaned offspring therefore will have better animals compared to the original does. The scheme also serves more farmer beneficiary in a shorter period of time.

On the other hand, DAR-MinSSAD funded the establishment of Goat Breeding Center with 100 highly upgraded does and 20 purebred bucks at CMU. The breeder stocks were procured from selected farms in Mindanao and Visayas like MBRLC and Abello’s Farm at Negros Occidental. - jxysl

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Locally Made Equipment Saves Dairy Industry

The locally fabricated milk processing equipment have helped the Philippine Dairy Industry save a lot. Dairy farmers no longer need to import batch pasteurizer, milk blender, and even milk cans.

According to Engr. Julius Sante, an experience dairy engineer, the said equipment were made of stainless steel which are food grade and made to satisfy the standards set by Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) in dairy processing. He further stressed that the equipment are efficiently designed to lower the cost of processing and can be repaired by local technicians.

The equipment he designed were installed at Pangantucan, Maramag, Kalilangan (PAMAKA) Farmers Dairy Cooperative based in Pangantucan, Bukidnon. The said equipment were funded by Mindanao Sustainable Settlement Area Development (MinSSAD) project of the Department of Agrarian Reform. This project would be of great help in the development of the dairy industry. Other government agencies helping the project include: National Dairy Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, Central Mindanao University, Philippine Carabao Center- CMU, Cooperative Development Authority, and the Local Government Units of Pangantucan, Maramag, and Kalilangan.

Such equipment are designed to suit the production capacity of the farm.
For more information please call or text Agri-Sense Enterprises at 0920-86-888-62.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Rice Fortification Program Launched!

The municipality of Bansalan officially implements the RA8976 on rice. The program was formally launched on July 7, 2008 at Municipal Hall, Bansalan, Davao del Sur in celebration of the nutrition month with the theme "Sa wastong nutrisyon ni Mommy, siguradong healthy si baby!". The activity were attended by mothers with their children, traders, unit heads, officials, food handlers, law enforcer, and non-government organizations.

Bansalan is the first municipality of Davao del Sur that implements Food Fortification Program specifically the Iron Fortified Rice. According to the Municipal Health Officer, Dra. Capacio, the implementation of the said program is backed up with the national law, Republic Act 8976, otherwise known as Food Fortification Law of 2000 and Municipal Ordinance No. 350 and Resolution No. 305, S2004. Further she stressed, that almost "3% of pregnant women visiting the Municipal Health Center have Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA)". It would be wise to ensure that pregnant mothers are healthy, iron supplement could be used to decrease IDA.

During the activity, the children were fed with vegetables and fortified rice.
According to Ms. Arlene Bangahon, the Municipal Nutrition Action Officer (MNAO) the feeding was sponsored by the Holy Cross of Bansalan College Alumni Higschool batch 1983 while the Agri-Sense Enterprises represented by Ellen S. Laquihon distributed Iron Fortified Rice Premix to mothers. They were also educated on the benefits of using the Iron Fortified Premix especially the pregnant and lactating women.

Municipal Ordinance No. 350 Article 8 States "MANDATORY PRODUCTION, SALE AND USE OF FORTIFIED RICE, SUGAR, OIL, AND FLOUR IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF BANSALAN. It is hereby required of all manufacturers, importers, repackers, traders, and suppliers to manufacture, import, repack, and sell only fortified rice, sugar, oil and flour in the municipality of Bansalan."

The Local Government of Bansalan based on the said Ordinance section 6, appropriates one million (P1,000,000.00) pesos from the IRA of the municipal office to be used for the development and implementation of the local government food fortification program.

A municipal task force on food fortification program, will be monitoring all traders, millers, and food handlers. Section 7 of thesame article states that any violators of the ordinance maybe penalized "in the amount of not less than P2,000 but not more than P100,000.00 and revocation of Business Permit by the Local Chief Executive, without prejudice to other penalties, after due notice and hearing."

Among the first trader and millers who followed the ordinance were B&B Grains corner owned by Mr. Edgar Balunan and Arches Rice Mill. Food establishments like AJR's Luncheonette & Snack Inn also serves fortified rice only.

If you drop bye and eat in restaurants in Bansalan, you are assured that the rice is Iron-fortified. You can see posters in these food stablishments with captions of "LIKAYI ANG ANEMIA! PAG IRON FORTIFIED RICE NA!" which means PREVENT ANEMIA, USE FORTIFIED RICE NOW!

Bansalan will soon decrease itS Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) prevalence rate with the strict implementation of Municipal Ordinance 305 and with the help of all leaders, NGOs like HCBC Alumni, Cooperatives, Rural Improvement Club, Bansalan Cable TV, and Business Sector.

Cheers Bansalan Health Office and all stake holders.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Philippine Goat raisers goes to Davao!

Ring! Ring!

"Hello noy! Can you come over? I want to discuss something with you." "Is that urgent dad? I'm travelling now towards Bukidnon." I replied. "Not really... but I have recieved an invitation letter from Vice Governor Pinol, chairperson of the organizing committee, for us to present a paper at The Philippine Goat Raisers Conference!""So how can I help you dad?"... my dad answered "Son, I need your thesis. I want you and you kuya (older brother) to join me in this presentation." Without any hesitations I immediately replied "I will be there on saturday." and I hanged up the phone.

I was so excited that our family could share the experiences in Dairy goat farming! Since, 1978, we were raising dairy goats at Mt. Carmel. I graduated my college with goats and now I am still working with goats. The passion of raising goats and dairy industry is there. I cannot deny it!

Foreigners and local speaker were invited to talk and discuss at PGRC 2008 that was slated on July 23-25, 2008 at Davao Convention Center, Davao City. The Laquihon's will be speaking on raising goats (the family experience) and local feed formulation.

For more details on Philippine Goat Raisers please visit

See you there!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Hidden Hunger

A seven year old girl, named Mary jane, was rushed to the emergency room of the local hospital. "She fainted!" her mother yelled. "She was not able to eat breakfast this morning even though we prepared enough. She must be hungry."

After the doctor checked Mary Jane and a series of test. The doctor said "shes not just hungry... she has hidden hunger. we call it Iron Deficiency Anemia".

Are Filipinos hungry?

Recent survey says that hunger in Philippines declined to 15.7% from 21.5% in September 2007. According to the SWS, this is specifically involuntary hunger, which means, suffering hunger but not necessarily mean not having anything to eat. Good to know that our government is trying its best to reduce hunger but its a long way to go.

The same survey says that in Mindanao, 15.3 percent says that the moderately hungry which means they are suffering only once or a few times in the previous 3 months.

The Hidden hunger or Micronutrient malnutrition on the other hand is still high especially in the case of Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA). According to the study conducted by Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) in 2003, there is an increasing incidence of IDA in infants at 66% from 56%, likewise it was found out that 50.3% of pregnant women and 42% of lactating women were anemic.

IDA causes Fatigue, low productivity and apathy among adults and poor school performance among children.

We have managed to reduce hunger and there is alarming increase of hidden hunger most of infants, children, pregnant and lactating mothers.

In 2000, The RA 8976 or the Philippine Food Fortification Act 2000 was signed into law. Its government strategy to reduce the hidden hunger. It aims to increase dietary intake of Vitamin A, Iron and Iodine equivalent to 50% of recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) contributed by fortified food.

RA 8976 mandates the fortification of staple food to include Rice with Iron, flour with Vitamin A and Iron, Edible Oil with Vitamin A, and Sugar with Vitamin A.

The Department of Health (DOH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD), Depatment of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Nutrition Council (NNC), National Food Authority (NFA), Local Government Units (LGU), and other non-government organizations are working together to reduce micro-nutrient malnutrition.

"DI LANG BUSOG DAPAT MALUSOG!" (Not just full but also healthy) are one of the slogans used by the advocates against hidden hunger. Indeed, rice could be available but is it healthy? Fortified Rice should be made available to everybody.

Today, the GRAINS FORTIFICANT Marketing Inc. and AGRI-SENSE ENTERPRISES is helping reduce the Iron-Deficiency Anemia by having Iron Fortified Rice Premix or Colored Rice available to grassroots level. Colored rice is the only fortified premix approved by the DOH and BFAD in Mindanao if not Nationwide. This is manufactured by CG Foods by coating the common rice mixed with Iron (Ferrous Sulfate) and passed the standards set by BFAD.

The program is now implemented in Region XI. Fastfood chains like Chowking, Jollibee, McDonald, other food establishments in Davao are serving not only rice but iron-fortified rice. Other neighboring cities like Tagum, Panabo, Island Garden City of Samal, Mati, and municipalities of Bansalan, Matanao, and Magsaysay are making every effort to have Iron Fortified Rice in their areas.

For more information contact

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Executive Order 606 – Is it working?

“…Floods …caused millions worth of damage to crops and infrastructure.” These are the words in Philippine news papers lately. Same lines were seen the past decades and same lines will be seen 10-20 years from now if we take no action.

According to the report of Vicente S. Paragas, former Director of DENR Region X, deforestation and improper land use of uplands has resulted to land degradation and severe soil erosion. He further stressed that “Improper management, insufficient technical know-how, among others, has resulted in the failed in implementation of already existing laws on watershed protection and preservation.”

What the government did?

In February 27, 2007, Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed the Executive Order 606 Pursuing Sustainable Upland Development anchoring on food, wood, and non-wood security and economic productivity and providing the mechanisms for its implementation. The DENR is tasks to take lead for the implementation of the said order. It will be assisted by DA, DAR, DILG and LGUs. I hope by this time, it will not fail again.

Not long time ago Ms. Li-Ann de Leon, the Executive Director of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), called to replicate the Sustainable Upland Development (SUD). She emphasized on the four models to be used by the Local Government Units (LGUs) namely: 1) Land-Used Based Barangay Development Planning (LUBBDP), 2) Upland Agricultural Extension Delivery for introducing Diversified Farming Systems or DFS with upland farmers (UAED-DFS), 3) Barangay Forest Protection and Management (BFPM) and 4) Labor-Based Routine Barangay Road Maintenance (LBRBRM). On the other hand, Mayor Ramon N. Guico Jr., emphasized that SUD is “…definitely doable” most especially that Executive Order No. 606 was already in place. He further stressed “The LMP in partnership with the Mayor’s Development Center , can now go full blast in its campaign to replicate SUD all over the country.” Kudos to you,

Soil erosion can’t be stopped at all but rather be controlled. In a study conducted in Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center in 2004 revealed that using Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT) and planting of vetiver grass in contour lines had effectively reduced the soil loss. On the other hand, technologies like terracing, natural vegetative barrier, and rock wall had higher soil loss as high as 32 tons per hectare per year. It is alarming to note that there will be higher rate of erosion when farmers do not have any conservation measures at all.

Many of our uplands today are cultivated for vegetables, corn, banana and even sugarcane. These farming systems were used without any soil erosion control. Uplands in provinces of Cotabato, Davao , and Bukidnon, are vastly converted to plantation crops (banana, pineapple and later to include jathropa) without any soil erosion measures but rather large canals for irrigation and drainage. As a result, more flash floods in lowlands and higher rate of soil erosion.Have we not learned from the tragedies of Ormoc to the recent damages in Cotabato? Do our politicians have the “WILL TO SERVE” or the agencies like DENR, DA and DAR to include DILG are doing its best to have executed E.O. 606? Or let’s just for more damages and calamities?

The LMP again will have another convention. Their actions along with the DENR, DA, and DAR per E.O. 606 remains to be seen. Is it doable? Prove it else we will see more headlines of calamity due failed implementation of existing laws tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Recent Calamity in Mindanao

“NCotabato officials declare state of calamity due to flood damage…caused millions worth of damage to crops and infrastructure.” This was the headline on the ABS-CBN News online under the regional dated April 29, 2008. Same headline seen in a Local Newspapers like Sunstar davao today (May 1, 2008).

You will read more of these headlines and devastating damages soon if we continue to cut trees, continues land conversion, and continue to ignore the call to protect our soil.

The call to protect soil erosion decades ago are still the call for today. When I was 6 years old, I remember Rev. Harold Watson and Dr. Warlito Laquihon advocating sustainable agriculture in uplands and urging all to restore the degraded soil by using Sloping Agricultural Land Technology. In 2004, I myself was calling to help prevent soil erosion during the Vegetable Congress sponsored by VICSMin in Davao City. Today, I believe the same call I pose to all Filipinos.

Pardon my words but what recently happened in Cotabato is an effect of ill planning in sustainable land use and continued ignorance in soil conservation and environmental protection. I see hills with more than 40 degrees slope used without any soil erosion control for vegetables, corn and even sugarcane farming. Likewise, uplands in Cotabato, Davao, and Bukidnon, are vastly converted to plantation crops like banana, sugarcane, and pineapple (later will include jathropa) without any soil erosion measures but rather large canals for irrigation and drainage. As a result, we are experiencing flash floods.

It seems we have not learned at all from the tragedy of Leyte to the damages in Cotabato lately. Does our government have interventions or political will to protect damages in uplands and low land areas? Should the agencies like DENR and DA look into this? Should we wait for more damages? What can you do?

I wish to call the attention of all government officials, all agencies concerned, academe, NGOs, civic sector, farmers, friends and you. Let’s not wait for another tragedy and more damages to come, act now.

I wish I could help more by sharing my knowledge in agriculture, for today, I just wrote this article to start the journey of protecting our life. If you think you can make a difference, let join hands and think of a better way. Share this to a friend.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Davao, Philippines - Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT ) proved to effectively reduced soil erosion over other systems. This was revealed through the conduct of a 8-year study (1997-2004) on different soil conservation measures at Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBRLC) in Kinuskusan, Bansalan, Davao del Sur, Philippines.

Results revealed that SALT and vetiver grass had effectively reduced the soil loss of about half ton/ha/yr and 1.5 tons/ha/yr, respectively. On comparison, there is a remarkable soil loss in rockwall (32.40 tons/ha/year) when compared to other treatments. Terrace and natural barrier had lesser erosion rates of 5.13 and 6.22 tons/ha/year, respectively.

A cement catchment were established at the lowest portion of the hillside. Eroded soil that were trapped in the cement catchment were collected and weighed after every significant rain.

The result suggests’ that the farmers can effectively use SALT and vetiver grass to prevent losing the precious top soil. The disadvantages seen using vetiver grass are: it consumes higher space requirement thus lesser area for productive crops and since its a grass, it competes with corn on nutrient uptake.

According to Warlito A. Laquihon and Harold Ray Watson, former Associate Director & Director of MBRLC respectively, "The price of soil loss is poverty, but we have seen land restored to a reasonable level of productivity by using SALT”

Let’s not wait and get the price of poverty. Instead, adopt SALT now and get the price of sustainable productivity. - jxysl

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Rice shortage - does it mean food shortage in Mindanao?

Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, CBCP head, lately called to have alternative food for energy such as sweet potato (camote), corn, or cassava. Further, Ma. Teresa Ungson, Regional Coordinator of National Nutrition Council XI, also stressed that Filipinos should practice dietary diversification. I agree with them.

Is there really rice shortage? I don't believe so! Not in Mindanao! We still have fertile soil. We can plant root crops that has higher energy than rice. And mind you, if you happen to visit Davao City, have dinner at barbeque restaurants there is a signage saying "UNLIMITED RICE". Sounds unbelievable but true. Not only that, Davao City is the only City in Philippines that serves IRON-FORTIFIED RICE too in food establishments.

The real question is? Are we managing our soils enough to maintain productivity? or we just want to produce more and sacrificing the fertlity of our soil? If we continually use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, doesn't practice crop rotation, and doesn't practice soil conservation, I believe in a decade, Philippines would not only have rice shortage but food shortage as well. Who is to blame? Our Government? GMA? or the Farmers it self? No one is to be blamed at rather we (each and everyone) should do our best and exert every effort to have a sustainable food supply. We often finger point our leaders yet we don't realize we also have a role in food stability. I suppose the senators would do there role too and not only tinker of 2010 elections.

A month ago I heard that rice fortification with iron is being pushed especially in Region XI. I admire such efforts of DOH through the NNC-XI in iniating and implementing such program to address malnutrition problem particularly iron deficiency anemia. Nevertheless, I was amazed that the National Food Authority (NFA) have tried to hinder and question the innovative strategies on iron rice premix (eg. iron-premix in sachet) yet today THERE IS RICE SHORTAGE! Why does NFA failed to focus in ensuring adequate rice supply in the country? nor supportive to the efforts of DOH in iron rice fortification? I hope they (NFA) realize these.

Mindanao farmers continues to practice Sustainable Agriculture. Go Natural Farming! From Rice to Vegetable to Chicken to Goats and to Swine! Go on Mindanao!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sustaining Agriculture Productivity - The Mindanao way

"My last harvest is losing...I was not able to buy fertilizer on time. I need additional capital for the next cropping cycle. Can you help me?" said Mang Erning. I asked him "Is there any alternative?" He answered "The cost of fertilizer and pesticide are high. I wont be able to get a good harvest without it."

Every farmers concern is to increase productivity and its concept of increasing productivity is through the use of modern technology that often requires higher inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides, and irrigation.

Nowadays, technologies are being reconsidered as to whether they are the best method for sustainable agriculture since high inputs tends to cause environmental degradation and the risk of using synthetic fertilizer or pesticides to human health. According to an expert from Sri Lanka, Ranjith Senaratne, “modern agriculture, though highly productive, is not sustainable; it demands heavy inputs…which account for a sizable proportion of the cost of production.”

There is an alternative to this problem! We can reduce the cost of production cost by using scientific advances, promising traditional practices and indigenous knowledge such as Natural Farming Technology!

Mang Erning said "Is that so? How do I do that?" I said "better come with me and let visit a farm nearby and let me show you how they do their farm. We visited the Mountain Integrated Development And Stewardship (MIDAS). We met Dr. Warlito A. Laquihon, one of the founders of Sloping Agriculture Land Technology and an advocate of sustainable agriculture. He explained to us the concept of Sustainable Agriculture using available available materials around such as animal manure, herbal plants, leguminous shrubs and fruits.

The use of Indigenous Micro-organism (IMO), Fermented Fruit Juices (FFJ), Fermented Plant Juice (FFJ), and Organic Herbal Nutrient are few of the farm inputs that can be used among array of alternative. I showed mang Erning how to make these and he got the concept! He will used it for his crops as well as animals.

Mang Erning went home happy and satisfied. He said "Thank you for helping me." I said "My pleasure. Please impart this knowledge to your neighbors."

We will be happy to help you too. If you are interested you may contact us at 63.82.303.3502 or 63.920.868.8862

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Why Dairy Goats?

"Why Dairy Goats?" most of the people I met asked me that question. When we talk of dairy, what usually comes in our mind is cows. I said "Dont you know that goats milk is almost similar to human's milk?" Most of them were amazed. "Yes, scientific studies reveals that. My parents didn't buy expensive powdered milk for us since we have goats milk in our back yard. " It helped a lot and I believe it can help you too. You might be a goat fanatics or a businessman who want to engage into dairy goat farming. Here are few steps and tips I can share with you:

1. Know the technical aspect of goat raising. It is always good that before you engage in any business, you atleast know the fundamentals of raising goats. Attend seminars or trainings near your area else you can organize one for your community. We can come give you lectures if you want too.

2. Prepare the goat feed ahead. Most of the farmers that failed in goat farming business is due to lack of feeds. Native pasture is not enough. You need to plant good pasture such as leguminous plant like ipil-ipil, flemengia, rensonii, indigo, etc.

3. Build your goat shed. Most of the farmers think that any shed will be enough. That is not the case in dairy goats. Remember we need to maintain cleanliness since we are handling milk. We dont want that udders of our does (female goat) to be dirty nor the animals get wet during rainy period. Bottom line we want the both the animals and caretaker to be comfortable in their sheds. Remember, potable water should be available.

4. Select the best breeder. Anglo Nubian goats are producing well in Philippines. You can buy them from known breeder farms like WLFarms. Goats should be free from any physical defects therefore you need to select them carefully. Select the does that have good udder size and good milking ability with a buck that are sexually aggresive and physically fit.

5. Feed your goats regularly. Goats needs about 10% of its body weight of fresh grass and legumes. It is recommended to give 50% grass 50% legumes. Lactating goats should be given supplement feed like concentrate atmost (1kg of feed per liter of milk). You can mix your own feed supplement using yellow corn, rice bran, soybean meal, copra meal, ipil-ipil leaf meal, etc. This topic is given during the practical lecture (learning by doing).

6. Milk your goats on time. Regular milking of does will give you regular amount of milk. My experience shows that if the goats are not regularly milked, the milk production decreases and goats experiences mastitis. Before milking, wash the udder with warm water and soap. Rinse it well and dry it off using dry towel.

7. Pasteurize your milk. Pasteurizing your milk will destroy harmful microorganism. You can use a double broiler for pasteurization so that there will be no off-odor in milk. Cool down the milk immeditaely. Chill and serve. You can also make ice candy, sorbet, ice cream, bars, and other dairy products.

For further information dont hesistate to contact me. Happy goat dairying everyone!