Within the small coastal village of Cangmunag, San Juan, Siquijor where its people spend more of their time into the seas to get a good catch, or into a parcel of land to grow vegetables, there is a group of women which has embarked into a livelihood venture on dairy production.
As early as 2003, the Kababayen-an Alang sa Paglambo sa Nasudnong Industriya sa Gatas (KAPANIG) came into being to capitalize the initiative of the National Dairy Authority which provided cattle in some selected barangays in the province of Siquijor. Registered sooner with the Cooperative Development Authority in 2004, KAPANIG, from then on, zeroed in its collective effort to producing fresh milk as its primary undertaking. Initially nineteen (19) women signed up as members and slowly it has transformed into an empowered association.
Since 2005 as KAPANIG officially operated until the first quarter of 2022, it has produced fresh milk without the facility of technology. For example, the sterilization of raw milk was done only with the use of big kettles over gas burners. Eventually last 2021, KAPANIG availed a DOST-7 Regional Grants-In-Aid program nominated as “Fresh milk processing technology upgrading of KAPANIG for enhancement of quality cow’s milk products to increase productivity and boost community livelihood,” where a technology like pasteurizer, and other miscellaneous equipment which included display chest freezer, oven with accessories, stainless steel tank, kitchen aide mixer were given. Moreover, DOST conducted product laboratory analysis on KAPANIG’s fresh milk and provided packaging and labeling materials to its finished products. Starting this year 2022, KAPANIG is now into a safer, more reliable, and more secure way of killing pathogens considered as bad bacteria found in raw milk.
KAPANIG, through time from the start, began scoring positive impact in the lives of its members and in the community. Notably, the generation of livelihood among the members created some security in defraying their daily household expenses and in sending their children to finish school. Technically, the availment of KAPANIG with DOST’s intervention like the provision of efficient pasteurizing technology and energy saving freezing equipment has increased its production and sales of flavoured milk products. Concomitantly, to equip the members with skills, various trainings were conducted like capacity building, food and safety, and good manufacturing practices. Its dairy products now assume with new packaging and labeling materials.
As far as infusion of GAD elements into KAPANIG, its members see to it that workload is shared in accordance with the ages of the members as some of them are already beyond sixty years old. There is a wider space to take a respite from work. KAPANIG also maintains work rotation and allows longer hours for rest. The transport of raw milk from the farm to the production area is done by charging a delivery man to do it. When marketing the products around the island, a male driver is paid to ferry some assigned members.
Socially involved, KAPANIG supported a passage of a barangay resolution to prohibit quarry of sand in its village. Likewise, it participated in coastal clean-up activities and engaged into planting trees within the vicinity.
As a form of a livelihood buffer, KAPANIG expands its operation by selling “torta” cake, and just recently, it supplies potable water in the community.
KAPANIG’s goal of increasing its production of fresh milk by 30% met a colossal challenge during pandemic and was compounded during the onslaught of Typhoon Odette. The travel restriction affected greatly the mobility for marketing its milk products.
After the declaration of Level Alert I for the province of Siquijor, KAPANIG slowly picked its operation up and it has become ambulant again in selling its dairy products. It has begun to accept orders from DSWD, DEPED, and LGUs for their feeding programs.
As a CEST beneficiary, KAPANIG has positioned itself to avail of the new program of DOST which is BURDA or Bridging the Utilization of R & D results through Awareness and Dissemination.
The women of KAPANIG have shown that patience, cooperation, and openness to any form of help from other government and private agencies can make a difference in the integrity of an association.
They may be old but what a force to reckon with when their ebbing energy still ripples positive impact to the path of sustainability. (By: Jose Aldous R. Arbon II, SRA-IO)
Some members of KAPANIG with DOST personnel at Cangmunag, San Juan, Siquijor.