The study mission, the last in a series, was organized by SEARCA's Knowledge Management Department (KMD), through its Training Unit (TU). Ms. Supaksiri Phokunakorn, Managing Director of the Zonta Chom Bung Dairy Cooperative, served as local coordinator.
The study mission is part of the project titled Capacity Development under Livestock Research and Biotechnology Research and Development of the Carabao Development Plan (CDP), which SEARCA is implementing for PCC. It aims to enhance the capacity of the PCC to address the requirements of the Carabao sub-sector and boost its full potential as a major player of the livestock industry and the region considering the ASEAN Economic Community 2015 and greater globalization. The study mission also aims for the participants to (1) identify relevant and specific overseas public and private sector program concepts and strategies needed to strengthen the i-REB (Intensified Rural Enterprise Build-Up) framework and its operationalization; (2) forge stronger partnership with international research and development institutions that will enhance generation of major final output relevant to improving productivity through the application of relevant biotechniques, technology transfer, and policy reforms; and (3) prepare and submit an action plan to PCC's Office of the Executive Director. The remaining activity under the project is an integration workshop to be participated in by the groups that attended the series of study missions.
Dairy products, including milk, have not been traditionally included in the Thai diet. However, in the early 1960s, the King of Thailand visited Denmark and an agreement between Thailand and Denmark for dairy farming was forged. In 1962, the Thai-Danish Dairy Farm and Dairy Farm Training Center were established. Government support to the dairy industry included provision of dairy cattle breeds to farmers, use of import tariffs to protect domestic industry, and institutionalization of the National School Milk Program, which provides free milk (both fresh and UHT) to schoolchildren in both private and public schools.
While in Thailand, the group visited the Murrah Dairy and Mini Murrah Farm in Chachoengsao Province; 108 Agriculture Machine and Equipment Co., Ltd. in Manao Wan; Nakorn Ratchasima Animal Nutrition and Research and Development Center in Pakchong; Aura Farm in Khon Kaen Province; Sweet Napier Pasture Area in Kalasin Province; Dairy Farming Promotion Organization (DPO) in Saraburi Province; Chokchai Agritourism Dairy Farm in Nakhon Ratchasima; and Zonta Dairy Village in Ratchaburi Province.
Murrah Dairy is Thailand's first and only buffalo dairy producer. In 2003, it established the Murrah Farm, which combined the concepts of small and medium-scale enterprises with social/community enterprises and developed a business model that benefits both the community and the individual farm families. Besides Murrah Farm, Murrah Dairy also operates Murrah House and Mini Murrah Farm.
At the DPO, participants were briefed on the National School Milk Program, which was launched in 1992 to support the Thai dairy industry by providing an outlet for locally produced milk. The program beneficiaries include pre-school to Grade 6 students in both public and private schools nationwide.
Participants integrated their learnings from the study mission through a synthesis workshop during the last day of the study mission. They also produced re-entry action plans as their mission outputs.
Participants from PCC included Dr. Caro B. Salces, Deputy Executive Director; Mr. Arn D. Granada, Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the Director, PCC at West Visayas State University; Ms. Ma. Theresa R. Sawit, Senior Science Research Specialist and National CBED Coordinator; Ms. Jan Czarina M. Salas, Planning Evaluation Officer I; Mr. Nasrola S. Ibrahim, Science Research Assistant; Ms. Melinda G. Galacgac, Science Research Analyst, PCC at Mariano Marcos Memorial State University; Dr. Kimberly B. Turaja, Agricultural Technician, PCC at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University; Mr. Gaudioso B. Calibugan, Agriculturist II and CBED-RIZ Coordinator, PCC at Ubay Stock Farm; Mr. Matt Daniel B. Peralta and Ms. Rebecca Ruby G. Gabriel, Science Research Specialist I and II, respectively, PCC at Central Luzon State University; Mr. Andres N. Amihan, Jr., Farm Superintendent II, PCC at Visayas State University; and Mr. Romulo A. Salas, Science Research Specialist II and CBED Coordinator, PCC at Cagayan State University.
Participants from Lamac MPC included Ms. Maria Elena C. Limocon, General Manager; Ms. Maribeth E. Tuquib, Operations Manager; and Ms. Justinne Lynn C. Limocon, Business Development Center Manager. Lamac MPC is a full-pledge, multi-sectoral, multi-purpose agricultural cooperative that gives financial aid for social protection and benefits and non-financial services to the Lamac community.
The group was accompanied by Dr. Nova A. Ramos, Program Specialist, SEARCA KMD-TU, who served as the overall Study Mission Coordinator. (NARamos)