Nat’l confab in NE rains accolades on ‘Leonora’

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    SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ – She was 30 kilometers away, under a shade, unspeaking and unaware of the explosion of accolades by at least 500 farmers and other stakeholders gathered here Monday.

    But through photos and written description about her here, the audience got to regard her, who answers by the name “Leonora,” very highly.

    She is a dairy buffalo of Brazilian breed, with milk yields of up to 18 liters a day or a total of 3,364.5 liters in a ten-month lactation period, and provided an income of P149,670 to her owner Rogelio Marquez, 44, of San Andres 1, Quezon, Nueva Ecija.

    Leonora, the name (meaning light in many languages) Marquez gave her in appreciation of her “beauty” and “domesticity,” gave birth to a female calf on November 30, 2016 in her fourth calving. She knew that she is Leonora as she readily gives out an acknowledging response, like raising her head, whenever her name is called while in the company of three others that Marquez tends.

    Even in her dry months of lactation, her milk yield never went down to 10 liters daily. The ex-farm price of carabao’s milk in Marquez’ area is P45 per liter.

    Elsewhere, though, it goes up to P60 to P80 per liter in raw form. Aside from her milk yield, Leonora was judged for her body conformation (symmetry, size and shape) which is ideal for a milking carabao.

    Marquez received from DA assistant secretary Enrico Garzon Jr. and Dr. Arnel del Barrio, executive director of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), the “Gintong Kalabaw Cup” and a cash award.

    He is set, with his cash award, to improve further his carabao management practices, to retain in temporary keeping the trophy.

    Del Barrio said the giving of award for the outstanding carabao, alongside with the other awards for carabao dairying, was to highlight the achievements in carabao development during the 3rd National Carabao Conference here (Nov. 27-28).

    The conference provided avenues for exchanges of ideas, information, practices and technologies in further improving the carabao development program, particularly the carabao- based industry, in the country.

    Awardees

    The other awardees were Henry Orbito of Calinog, Iloilo as “Outstanding Dairy Buffalo Farmer” (smallhold category); Victoriano Dumale of Licaong, Science City of Muñoz, “Outstanding Buffalo Farmer” (family module); Samuel Mercader of San Jose City in the semi-commercial category; and Emily Velasco of Villa Joson, San Jose City as “Modelong Juana sa Kalabawan” (model woman in carabao dairying).

    Patrick Pascual of Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija was awarded the “Modelong Kabataan sa Kalabawan” honors while the Eastern Multi-Purpose Cooperative of San Jose City was bestowed the “best dairy cooperative” title.

    The Eastern Multi-Purpose Cooperative has 432 dairy carabaos in the hands of 60 members and had combined milk harvest of 145,099.65 liters in 91 lactating carabaos in one year (P7,254,982.50 at P50 per liter).

    It also runs its own milk processing plant and marketing outlet.

    Dumale and his family earned P70,000 a month from their five dairy carabaos while Orbino grossed P354,314.80 from the milk yield of his two carabaos.Mercader, who started raising a dairy carabao in 2000, has 32 carabaos of which 14 are mature females, one a senior bull, four are heifer, and nine are calves, earned more than enough to finance the education of four daughters, two of whom had graduated from their respective collegiate courses, acquired agricultural lands, house and lot, vehicles, farm equipment, and appliances.

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