ILOILO CITY, Philippines - The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the board members of Calinog-Lambunao-Bingawan Caradairy Raisers Entrepreneur's (CLB-CARES) and Iloilo Science and Technology University and Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ISAT-U) at the Western Visayas College of Science and Technology Multi-Purpose Cooperative Building in La Paz, Iloilo City on 8 November 2018.
This initiative is still part of the Enterprise Development Component of the PCC-funded project, Building Capacity and Strengthening Partnership through Carabao Development Program, which aims to provide relevant interventions identified in the recommendations of the Value Chain Analysis Study conducted by SEARCA for PCC, covering carabao-based enterprises across the country. The interventions range from knowledge-sharing to provision of support services and resources to the cooperative beneficiaries identified by the PCC National Headquarters.
The MOA details the responsibilities of SEARCA, PCC, and Carabao-Based Enterprise Development (CBED) cooperative beneficiaries. It also specified clauses about the equipment, supplies, and tools that the cooperatives will receive as assistance to the enterprise development projects for the two cooperatives.
The projects aim to empower CLB-CARES and ISAT-U in gradually and sustainably operating their own business enterprise. The provision of quality equipment and dairy processing tools, which include chillers, freezers, ice cream machines, gelato maker, and display cubicles amounting to PHP 1,188,700.00 will certainly advance the business operations of 30 farmers and 200,000 members of the two cooperatives.
During the MOA Signing Ceremony, Dr. Arn Granda, PCC WVSU Center Director, expressed his sincerest gratitude to PCC and SEARCA for choosing their Center as one of the project's beneficiaries. He stressed the market potential of Iloilo in catering to the demand of growing tourists, not just in Iloilo, but also of nearby islands like Boracay and Panay. He also encouraged the two cooperative beneficiaries to utilize well the equipment, supplies, and tools that they will receive.
On the other hand, Ms. Nancy M. Landicho, SEARCA Program Specialist and Officer-In-Charge for Project Development and Technical Services (PDTS), briefly introduced the organization and presented how the Center provides technical assistance through projects funded by international organizations, as well as Philippine government agencies. CLB-CARES and ISAT-U are the 16th and 17th cooperative beneficiaries identified by PCC, respectively, to receive assistance from the project. Ms. Landicho also shared that partial distribution of the items may be awarded to the cooperatives sometime in January or February 2019.
Mr. Marlon S. Cerbo, Chairman of CLB-CARES, and Mr. Samuel G. Arsulo, Chairman of ISAT-U, expressed their gratitude to PCC and SEARCA as their cooperatives were chosen as beneficiaries to receive assistance for their carabao-based enterprise. Through the equipment and dairy processing tools, the cooperatives would be able to (1) put in place a Farmers' Association/Cooperative-operated dairy outlets, (2) empower dairy farmers through increased smallholder farmers' income, (3) sustain daily milk production of at least 80 kg/day raw milk out of at least 25 cow on line/day during the third year of operation of the dairy outlet, and (4) improve and enhance awareness among small dairy/livestock farmers in the area.
With Ms. Landicho was Ms. Sarah Grace L. Quinones, SEARCA PDTS Project Associate, also representing SEARCA, and Ms. Jan Czarina Salas, PCC Business Development Analyst, who facilitated the MOA Signing Ceremony.