THE Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) has dispelled myths that carabao meat is tough and darker in color, thus hindering its market acceptability.

However, the DA-PCC's experts stressed that buffalo meat can be equal to, if not better than, the more popular and widely accepted beef meat.

Attesting to this are the results of a series of studies conducted by the research team of the DA-PCC to compare the slaughter yields and carcass characteristics of crossbred buffalo and crossbred cattle of the same age and diet.

The DA-PCC research revealed that based on carcass quality evaluation, buffalo meat is comparable to beef in terms of carcass yields, processing traits and sensory characteristics.

Dr. Arnel del Barrio, former DA-PCC executive director, said in his presentation on "Potential of Buffalo Meat as Beef" during the Livestock Philippines Expo 2022 that the "DA-PCC promotes buffalo as a good source not only of milk but also of quality meat."

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"If the male buffaloes are not fit for breeding, then they are qualified to be fattened and marketed for a slice of good quality meat. The agency already has initiatives to develop a breeding program for buffalo meat production as well," Dr. del Barrio said.

As for the economic viability of carabao's meat, the head of DA-PCC's Business Development and Commercialization Unit Zadieshar Sanchez assures potential investors of carabao fattening and Kardeli retail business that, through collaboration and available technologies, there is a ready market for their products and the economic potential of this venture is very promising.

Kardeli is the DA-PCC's brand of premium carabao meat. It is available at the Milka Krem in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

Sanchez was also invited as one of the resource persons at the expo wherein he tackled the economic viability of value-added carabao meat products.

"According to our ongoing study, there is a ready market for carabao's meat and opportunities for this commodity are many. To fully realize this potential, more carabao fattening farms need to be raised," he stated.

To further prove the agency's claims about the good quality of carabao's meat, a cooking demo hosted by DA-PCC was also held at the Livestock Expo with chef Francis Sibal, executive chef of CZ Ranch Restaurant. The DA-PCC was among the roster of more than 200 exhibitors who showcased their products, services, technologies and other innovations to more than 3,500 participants from all walks of the livestock industry during the Livestock Philippines Expo 2022 held from August 24 to 26 at the World Trade Center Manila, Pasay City.