Pangasinan Dairy Farm in Laoac, Cojuangcos’ Legacy in 5th District
By Virgilio Sar. Maganes
LAOAC- As her term ends on June 30, 5th District Rep. Kimi S. Cojuangco is optimistic that future leaders of Pangasinan will continue to operate the Pangasinan Dairy Farm in Maraboc village.
This is for the farmers to have additional source of income that would contribute in uplifting their living condition, and to have a source of fresh milk for the residents, especially the children.
This was said by Cojuangco after the rotary milking parlor was installed by Milka-Ware, an Australian contractor, at the farm. The equipment is the first of its kind state-of-the-art milking parlor in the Philippines and would make the 5th district a major producer of quality milk in the country.
Sprawled on a four-hectare lot owned by the municipality government here, the dairy farm was conceptualized by former 5th District Rep. Mark O. Cojuangco and started its establishment in 2008.
It was funded out of the congressional priority development assistance fund (PDAF), senators’ PDAF and the National Dairy Authority (NDA). It also got a funding from the district’s share of the tobacco excise tax.
The dairy farm started its operations in 2010 with 300 dairy cows and 200 male cows. It was planned that by the end of 2011, the dairy farm operation will expand in Alcala with 300 dairy cows, 300 more in Villasis and additional 300 dairy cows in this town bringing a total of 1,000 dairy cows in the 5th District. Initial production of milk was distributed to school children in the fifth district.
The expansion did not materialize. The manual operations of the facility under the Pangasinan 5th District Dairy Cooperative temporarily stopped in 2014.
This was so because the PDAF was declared by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional and the P30 million promised assistance from the national government did not arrive.
The lack of operational funds significantly affected the dairy cooperative’s cash flow coupled with the fact that most of the cows got sick because of the irritations from the traditional type of milking.
Former Rep. Mark Cojuangco said that during the initial operation of the facility, the dairy cows that were initially used for milk production grew to 700. But because of the serious negative effects of the traditional way of extracting milk, most of the cows got sick and subsequently died.
He further said if he had his way, he should have reversed its operation by installing first the rotary milking parlor instead of the manual milking operation in order not to affect the cows.
Now that the rotary milking parlor has been installed, the cooperative still needs at least P5 million to fully operationalize the dairy farm, and to achieve its projected output of milk.
The provincial government never extended any support to the dairy project since the inception.
As to the feeds, the cooperative previously relied on corn plants that are shredded and stored in 4 big silos with a capacity of 680 tons each in order for the cows to have stable food supply.
Cojuangco said in order to sustain the stability of food supply for the cows to produce quality milk, the cooperative should plant at least one hectare of land with the so-called Cojuangco grass which is considered to be high in protein and long lasting. The grass would be harvested every 60 days.
The establishment of the mechanized rotary milking parlor complete with state-of-the-art milking equipment, will no longer expose the dairy cows to unnecessary irritation that might affect their productivity and also ensure a steady cash flow.
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