Image Source: DSWD Field Office VII

Carabao Dairy: A Livelihood We Call Our Own

Carabao Dairy: A Livelihood We Call Our Own

Carlito Autida, 45, married to Rosalie, 43, and father to (10) children, expressed his gratitude to the government for lighting up the hopes of every poor family by giving them a livelihood of their own.

“After years of waiting I can confidently say that we already have our own source of livelihood,” said Carlito, a partner-beneficiary under the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

The SLP is a multi-stakeholder program of the government implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). It aims to improve the standard of living of poor households by facilitating opportunities for development and management of resources viable for micro-enterprises, community empowerment through skills training and employment facilitation.

The Autida family lives in Bay-ang, Ubay, Bohol where the couple till the 1.5 hectares rice field owned by Carlito’s father, Tiburcio Autida. This has been their livelihood for 20 years now.

Carlito and Rosalie would plant and harvest twice a year. The yield every harvest is 200 sacks of paddy or 140 sacks of milled rice. Since the Autida family is a tenant, Carlito has to give one fourth share of the 140 to his father, which is 35 sacks. The remaining 105 sacks of milled rice will go to Carlito’s family.

Every sack of milled rice contains 35 kilos. A big business establishment in Bohol has been a regular customer of Carlito and buys the rice for P18.00 per kilo. The family gets a total of P66,150.00 out from the 105 sacks. But Carlito said that their total expense for every cropping would total to P40,000 from the land preparation to harvest time. Basically, the family earns a net income of only P20,150 twice a year.

While farming is their main livelihood some family members also work as laborers even for a short period of time to help the family put food on the table.

Some of the Autida children namely, Charlie, 23; Oscar, 22; twins Misael and Michael, 18; and Carlo, 15; help their parents in the farm and other livelihood activities. These children only finished high school.

Shaila, 20, the only girl among the siblings, is currently in Grade 11. James, 12, is in Grade 6; Jay-R, 9, Grade 4 and Calex, 5, a preschooler. Xavier Benedict, youngest is 9 months old.

Since the family would only have two cropping a year, the Audtidas also looked for additional livelihood activity. In 2013, when the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) located in Ubay identified the Autida family to be one of the families to take care of dairy carabaos, they grabbed the rare opportunity without second thoughts.

The family has been taking care of the five (5)) dairy carabaos entrusted to them by the PCC, which also helps augment their income. One of these dairy carabaos has already produced 3.5 liters a day.

Aside from the five (5) dairy carabaos they received from the PCC, the Autida family is also one of the recipients of the 500-female dairy carabaos given by the DSWD through the SLP in partnership with the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in Lomangog, Ubay, Bohol.

The dairy carabao given by DSWD delivered a calf in March 2017 and has started producing milk. As of now, it already produces 1 liter of milk a day.

The Autida family is paid by the PCC for every liter of milk the carabaos produce. Presently, the two milking carabaos have been producing 4.5 liters a day. A liter of milk is worth P45.00.

The family earns at least P202.50 a day or P 6,277.50 monthly out from milk production since only two (2) out of six (6) dairy carabaos are producing milk. Currently, the remaining four (4) Carabaos are drying off of milk because one is pregnant and the other 3 are experiencing difficulty in pregnancy. The drying off of milk means less in milk production.

The Carabao produces milk right after giving birth. And milking could last until the 10th month from giving birth. Beyond that, they would no longer be allowed for milking for this will make them bony and unproductive.

“Lisod kaayo among kahimtang labi na nga pag-uma lang among gisaligan. Pero tungod sa nadawat namo nga Carabao gikan sa DSWD ug sa giamoma namo nga 5 ka Carabao sa PCC, napun-an intawon among kita (We are in difficult situation especially that we only depend on farming. The five carabaos from PCC and the one Carabao we received from DSWD have indeed given us additional income),” said Carlito.

The Sustainable Livelihood Program implemented by the DSWD has helped the Autidas start a carabao dairy livelihood that now supports the family aside from farming.

A livelihood, which Carlito and Rosalie Autida proudly call their own.