Quezon province garnered the two highest and most prestigious awards in the Dairy industry given for the first time by the National Dairy Confederation of the Philippines (Dairycon) on its 15th national convention held at Hotel Supreme Convention Plaza, Baguio City on May 15 – 18, 2012. The award for the 2011 Outstanding Dairy Farmer and Outstanding Dairy Cooperative of the Philippines are both won by Quezon’s Nominees in a grand slam performance.
The individual category for the 2011 Outstanding Dairy Farmer of the Philippines is won by Ms. Gemma de Chavez, a diminutive, 42 years old lady farmer from Brgy. Concepcion Palasan, Sariaya, Quezon. De Chavez raises 9 heads of dairy cattle belonging to the Holstein Sahiwal breed where she averages 12 liters per head production of cow’s milk everyday. Her efficient management practices, coupled with hardwork and complemented by complete record of production, expenses and sales closely monitored by the National Dairy Authority (NDA) and meticulously scrutinized by the national board of evaluators and judges earned her the coveted title plus a whooping cash prize of P50,000.00. “Although wishing deep in my heart to win the award, I willed myself not to expect to win, knowing that it is a nation-wide search. The Quezon Provincial Veterinary Office people inspired me and supported me all the way – from convincing me to join the search, guiding me and helping me prepare the documentation needed. There have been many sleepless nights of praying and excitement since then up to the announcement that I really won!” De Chavez happily narrated. A Commerce graduate who was a former provincial capitol employee before deciding to embark in dairy farming, she started with only 1 head of dairy cattle back in 1992. From then on, she patiently learned the ropes of dairying up to the point when her farm became highly recommended by NDA as a show-window in small-hold dairy production, hosting international students mostly from Japan & Thailand for their actual farm practice, in addition to Lakbay-Aral farmers from as far as the Ilocos Region and Mindanao provinces.
To complete the grandslam, the 2011 Outstanding Dairy Cooperative of the Philippines is won by Palcon Dairy Multi-Purpose Cooperative, the biggest household dairy cooperative in the country based in Brgy. Concepcion Palasan, Sariaya, Quezon. Palcon Dairy averages 1,000 liters per day production of cow’s milk processed by the regional dairy farmers federation processing plant (KKMI). The federation is the supplier of fresh cow’s milk requirement of starbucks for their coffee lines. Palcon Dairy is headed by the duo of Aquilino Manalo as Chairman and Teodoro Panaligan as Manager. It has 81 members with a combined total stock of 400 heads of varying ages and sex of Holstein Fresian and Sahiwal breed of dairy cattle. The 2011’s search of outstanding dairy farmers are headed by the Administrator of the National Dairy Authority, Ms. Grace J. Cena, and the Executive Director of the Philippine Carabao Center, Dr. Libertado C. Cruz.
According to the Provincial Veterinarian of Quezon, Dr. Gerald C. Montierro and the Chairman of the Provincial Search Committee, Mr. Roberto Q, De Guzman, the awards do not only put the dairy farmer of Quezon above the rest, but is expected to focus the limelight to dairying as a viable industry. At present, 98% of the dairy requirement of the Philippines is imported. But, why import, while we have the capability to be the best dairy farmers? With intensified government support and regulatory measures, this volume of importation can be drastically reduced in the near future.