PCC officials strengthen ties with Vietnamese livestock and dairy development agencies

  • 18 November 2015

Dr. Arnel del Barrio (center left), PCC Acting Executive Director, and Dr. Nguyen Thi Lan (center right), Acting President of VNUA, sign a memorandum of understanding for possible collaborative activities on research and development, student and staff exchanges, and workshops and training courses between PCC and VNUA

HANOI, Vietnam – Seven officials of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) strengthened ties with livestock and dairy development agencies as well as a university in Vietnam through an Overseas Comparative Study Mission Toward Inclusive, Sustainable, and Competitive Livestock and Dairy Development here on 8-13 November 2015.

The second in a series, the study mission was organized by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) through the Training Unit of its Knowledge Management Department. The country office of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Vietnam, through Dr. Hung Nguyen-Viet, Country Representative for Vietnam and Senior Scientist, Ecohealth and Food Safety, served as co-organizer of the study mission.

The study mission is part of the project titled Capacity Development under Livestock Research and Biotechnology Research and Development of the Carabao Development Program (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 enhance 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; and 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 reform.

Specifically for the Vietnam study mission, the participants aimed to:

  1. Learn about the establishment and implementation of the National Dairy Development Plan, which lead to the reduction of milk imports, generation of rural employment, and increase the income of rural farmers;
  2. Visit selected dairy entrepreneurs, which may include small holder, medium-scale, and large-scale dairy farmers to have hands on experience and appreciation of the best practices and application of dairy technologies in the dairy farms; and
  3. Visit appropriate research laboratories and interact with scientists/researchers in the areas of breeding, nutrition and pasture development, animal production, reproductive biotechnologies, and other related fields.

Dr. Nguyen Anh Minh (left), Deputy Director General of the International Cooperation Department, MARD, receives a token of appreciation from Dr. del Barrio.The PCC officials visited the TH Group, which created the TH True Milk, a brand of fresh milk in Vietnam. The TH Group, founded by Madam Thai Huong, built the very first foundation for developing the fresh milk industry in Vietnam, after the 2007 melamine scare in milk and milk products. To produce fresh milk, the TH group bought state-of-the-art technology and the technique from Israel to breed milk cows, and tapped Totally Vets from New Zealand for veterinary medicine. The entire production chain has been formed and implemented strictly under the supervision of TH Group’s experts and managers. TH Group has a milk cow breeding farm covering more than 8,000 hectares and has been recognized by the Asia Book of Records as “Asia’s biggest centralized dairy farm with hi-tech applications.”

While in Vietnam, the group also visited agencies under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), which include the International Cooperation Department, National Institute of Animal Sciences (NIAS), National Agricultural Extension Center (NAEC), Northern Mountainous Livestock Research and Development Center of the National Institute of Animal Husbandry (NIAH) in Thai Nguyen Province, and the Vietnam National University of Agriculture (VNUA). They also met with representatives of the Department of Livestock Production and Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD), which were also under MARD.

At VNUA, the group met with Dr. Nguyen Thi Lan, Acting President, and 18 other faculty members and staff of the university, including Dr. Trinh Dinh Thau, Dean of VNUA’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and current President of the SEARCA Fellows Association in Vietnam. They discussed possible collaborative activities between PCC and VNUA, which include initiatives in research and development, staff and student exchanges, and workshops and training courses. They also explored possible collaborations on projects regarding mitigation of greenhouse gases emissions.

Participants in this study mission included Dr. Arnel N. del Barrio, Acting Executive Director; Dr. Daniel L. Aquino, National Genepool Coordinator; Dr. Cyril P. Baltazar, Farm Superintendent II; Dr. Saturnino Dayanan, PCC Director, La Carlota Stock Farm; Dr. Ivy Fe M. Lopez, GIP Coordinator, Visayas State University; Dr. Lowell C. Paraguas, PCC Director, Central Mindanao University; and Dr. Caro B. Salces, PCC Director, Ubay Stock Farm. Ms. Nova A. Ramos, Program Specialist at SEARCA’s KMD-TU, served as the Study Mission Coordinator. (Nova A. Ramos)

(L-R): PCC officials visit a farmer’s home in a village in Thai Nguyen Province to get acquainted with his livestock management system. Later during the day, they visited the Buffalo Research Station, which is under the supervision of the Northern Mountainous Livestock Research and Development Center of the National Institute of Animal Husbandry.