Why Carabao milk is a healthy alternative you shouldn’t miss
While some countries, like India, are already known as big consumers of buffalo or carabao milk, the idea of drinking milk from this popular farmer’s buddy is still a implausible idea among Filipino consumers. Thanks to Pinoy scientists: the carabao—once considered a ‘beast of burden’—has evolved to become a ‘beast of fortune’ for farmers who have discovered the potential of carabao milk and started making money out of it.
For instance, Andypoe Garcia, a farmer in Sitio Mapiña, Pampanga is able to collect 14 liters of milk a day for 3 months from his crossbred carabao during peak season and 7 to 8 liters during the rest of the 10-month lactation period. And that’s only one carabao from 20 in his prized possession. Garcia sells the milk to a sweets and pastries shop in Angeles City for P80 per liter.
Like Garcia, a once dirt-poor farmer named Francisco Solis in Gen. Trias, Cavite was also able to make a fortune out of his 23 carabao herds and enabled him to acquire 4 passenger jeepneys, an L-200 van, tricycles, hand tractors, threshers, a store and a bakery.
Solis’ secret? He sells the milk from his carabaos and delivers it to local restaurants and establishments within his area.
“Despite being replaced in some of the most important farm tasks by small farm machinery, the carabao has not only made a successful comeback but has also become more significant…changing people’s lives and being the center for vibrant carabao-based enterprises,” says Anselmo S. Roque, a retired university professor and agriculture correspondent, in his paper published in Agriculture Monthly.
“Thanks to the unflagging efforts of Filipino scientists, a government which worked hard for its upgrading, and the men and women who are continuously working for its welfare,” the Bright Leaf agriculture journalism awardee further said.
But carabao milk should not only be acknowledged for its contribution to the local dairy industry. It should, likewise, be praised for its nutritional value. Not only do you get a chance to help the boost the local carabao industry, you also get a healthy dose of healthy dairy recommendations.
For one, carabao milk is thicker and creamier, making it suitable for creating traditional milk products such as yogurt, ghee and cottage cheese. Because of its high peroxidising activity, carabao milk has a longer shelf life. It’s not only a tasty option to cow’s milk but it is also high in minerals, rich in vitamins, low in cholesterol, high in fat that can be part of a healthy weight gain diet if taken in moderation.
Carabao milk is also known to aid in bringing down your LDL or bad cholesterol levels in your body. Great for those suffering from diabetes and heart diseases as this milk variety has significantly low cholesterol.
Perhaps the most important thing about drinking carabao milk is the fact it is a rich source of calcium essential for bone and dental health. It is also a rich source of iron that helps keep our red blood cells functioning better to supply oxygen to our whole body.
Riboflavin, vitamins A, C, B6, and Thiamine, Folate, Niacin and vitamin B12 are also present in carabao milk. Significant amounts of Vitamin B12 can help reduce the chances of heart attack and stroke, according to a study of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) has a hectic number of activities to stabilize the rise of carabao-related products, including the implementation of a multiplier farm concept and the establishment of dairy ‘carabao hubs’ in various parts of the country.
Under the multiplier farm agreement, PCC will provide 50 quality dairy carabaos to qualified individuals or farmer groups who, in return, are expected to put up viabe enterprises from the milk they will collect from the animals and their offspring.
In building ‘carabao hubs’, the PCC is looking at putting up a well-oiled business chain that would be involved in the provision of credit, forage production, breeding, product development, promotion, marketing and other features of the dairy carabao business.
“Over the years, we didn’t see the contribution of the carabao to local dairy production. But now, their contribution is 34 percent and this figure continues to increase,” acting PCC executive director Dr. Arneldel Barrio said. (Ched Romulo)