MASBATE – The Department of Agriculture regional office top officials trooped to this province on June 29, 2017 for the inauguration of the two newly rehabilitated office buildings that comprise the research outreach station in the province now known as Masbate Center for Livestock Development. The Masbate Breeding Station located in barangay Asid in Masbate City and the Regional Carabao Breeding Center located in barangay Mabato-bato, Mandaon, Masbate, 44 kilometers away from Masbate City are the department’s implementing arms in Masbate.

The Masbate Breeding Station is a 22.8 hectare livestock facility focusing on production of superior breeds of small ruminants such as goats and sheep. Meanwhile, the 187 hectares Regional Carabao Breeding Center produces genetically superior breeds of buffaloes like Bulgarian-Murrah buffaloes, and serves as source of planting materials of forage grasses for the province’s numerous cattle ranches, making it the rodeo capital of the country. At present, the center has over 200 buffaloes.

 DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Elena B. delos Santos said the idea of improving structures of DA stations in all the provinces particularly the island provinces of Masbate and Catanduanes emanated from her predecessor former DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Abelardo R. Bragas. During the term of director Bragas, the DA allocated some funds for the rehabilitation of the six research stations of the DA after  typhoon Yolanda devastated the whole Bicol region. The  P5 million worth two-storey administration building both in Masbate Breeding and Regional Carabao Breeding Center are equipped with training halls and offices which are structurally sound, modernized, and climate resilient – in line with the DA’s thrusts and vision.

Director delos Santos also committed to establish a diagnostic laboratory for livestock to cater to the needs of cattle ranchers and individual small ruminant raisers. Currently, Masbate has more than 70 goat raisers and 130 cattle ranchers.

Masbate Provincial Administrator Filemon Abelita III said the improvement of the DA facilities in the province is a big step towards the realization of its aim to improve the livestock industry. “We are mindful of the big impact of the department of agriculture in Masbate as it is primarily an agricultural area. We are very thankful that DA has given the attention Masbate rightfully deserves,” Abelita added. He also said that there is no other way but up for Masbate as it aggressively pursues farm tourism.

Masbate has a total land area of 4,151.78 sq kms. roughly 23% of the Bicol region. It is considered as livestock champion of the region as it is a source of live animals like goat, cattle and carabaos. Coconut, rice, corn, cassava and mango are its main agricultural products. (Source: http://drive.daprdp.net/iplan/MasbatePCIP)

Lorenzo Alvina, Superintendent of the Masbate Center for Livestock Development hopes that with the strong support of the LGU and the farmers, the big potential of Masbate will be harnessed.

Also present during the inauguration were Jonel Orteza, Masbate Provincial Agriculturist;  Nora Aribon, multi-awarded chairperson of the Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council of Masbate; City Councilor Andrei Diez who represented Mayor Rowena Tuazon; Joaquin Dequilla, MAFC Chairperson of Milagros; Adonis dela Cruz representative of the Masbate Rice and Corn Seed Growers Association; Edgar Magallanes, representative of Masbate Small Ruminant Raisers Association; DEBESMSCAT Vice President for Administration and Finance Dr. Efren Cajurao; Hermilo Azansa, former station superintendent.

DA Bicol RTD for Research and Regulations Edgar R. Madrid; OIC RTD for Operations and Extension Rodel P. Tornilla; division chiefs and DA region 5 staff were also present during the occasion. (Lovella P. Guarin/ photos by Jun Collantes and Mitoy Privaldos)