The provincial government of Pangasinan represented by Governor Amado Espino III and the municipal government led Mayor Ricardo Balderas have entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to develop and rehabilitate the 5.7-hectare Laoac dairy farm in Barangay Maraboc here to generate additional income to the town.
“Magbibigay po ito ng malaking tulong once operational na. Makikilala po ang Laoac at Pangasinan as dairy producer (This will give big help once it is already operational. Laoac and Pangasinan will be known as dairy producers),” Balderas said in an interview on Monday.
He said the dairy farm has complete facilities and amenities, but high maintenance costs are required —something a small town like Laoac could not afford.
Balderas added that around PHP4 million is being spent annually for its operational expenses.
The previous administration, he added, also mustered a PHP3-million debt from the Pangasinan Electric Cooperative 3 (PANELCO 3) in the operation of the farm.
The debt is still slowly being settled up to this day.
The cattle given by the National Dairy Authority were also returned and what remains are locally raised native cattle.
With the signing of the MOA, the provincial government plans to put water buffaloes (carabaos) in the dairy farm.
Around 80 female buffaloes have been ordered by the provincial government for the dairy farm.
The provincial government will lead the management of the farm, along with the municipal government, while experts and professionals would be hired for technical matters, Balderas said.
Balderas said the dairy farm would hire a workforce from the 5th district of Pangasinan.
The dairy farm has been cleaned and those unusable machineries have been removed, he said.
Once the dairy farm operates, all 22 barangays in Laoac will benefit from it, he added.
A cooperative in each barangay will soon be formed to assist with the sale of various dairy products.
The PHP1-billion Laoac dairy farm complex began operating in 2010 with 400 to 600 cows placed in the area.
Its operation, however, was stopped in 2014 as cash assistance from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), also known as pork barrel which was then the source of funding for its operation, was halted after the Supreme Court deemed it illegal. (PNA)