By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — The Philippines produces less than one percent of its total annual dairy requirement and imports the balance. Local milk production is 26,000 MT in 2020 a little higher than 25 million in 2019 of which about 17,000 MT is cow’s milk.
The value of dairy production in 2019 amounted to P966 million. According to the National Dairy Authority, the average farm gate price of milk increased to P44.24/liter in 2020 from P42.06/liter in 2019.
Annual per capita milk consumption in the Philippines is estimated at 22 kg, compared with Thailand at 26 kg, Malaysia at 52 kg, and the United States at 287 kg. With a growing population of roughly 107 million in 2020, the Philippines is a large and expanding market for milk and dairy products. A Filipino family now spends a little over P4, 000 per year on dairy products.
In 2020, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) estimated the country’s beginning inventory of dairy cattle (female dairy animals only) at 11,645, while there are 9,328 head of carabao and 8,851 of goats.
Dairy cattle numbers increased slightly due to the importation of new dairy breeds and an increase in live births. Studies show that the utilization of the carabao’s milk for household consumption appears to be feasible and promising.
The country can achieve sustainable dairy production by encouraging farmers and their cooperatives to do dairy. They have to access the assistance given by Philippine dairy agencies – PCC and NDA.
One major constraint to production is the availability of carabao herd. The country’s dairy production is more community-based, thus the keeping the quality of fresh milk is a challenge due to the lack of processing and distribution systems and a dependable, continuous cold chain.
In 2019, Senator Cynthia Villar identified 17 sites for dairy development nationwide with a P10M budget each or a total of P170M, to be implemented by the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC). The amount shall be disbursed as follows: –
· P3 Million for 50 heads of dairy carabaos, P2 Million for Processing Equipment,
· P2 Million for Processing Building, P1 Million Veterinary Services,
· P1 Million for Medicines/ Biologics, and
· P1 Million for Miscellaneous to include 1 trike for milk pick- up.
The partner-beneficiary receives the dairy animal from PCC and they are taught how to rear them, feed them and make them pregnant according to prescribed dairy husbandry management standards.
The emphasis on carabao is based on climate suitability and the huge number of animals on the ground that may potentially be upgraded to a dairy buffalo breed. Under such partnerships, the cooperative or the local government as their counterpart provides land for a processing plant.
At the onset before the delivery of the animals, a 10- day Farmer’s Livestock Training on Dairy Buffalo Production is required to beneficiaries. The training emphasizes on livelihood, enterprise and income opportunities anchored on carabao-based products, forage management for milk includes institutional buyers and the final consumers in show windows such as dairy box outlets or coop bazaars. The five-milk producer-beneficiaries are still in the production stage where their produce is sold in the informal markets in their neighborhood.
For 2020 allocation of P110M, as of November 16, 2021, 7 out of 11 sites have complete delivery to 230 individuals, and two (2) of the identified cooperative beneficiaries already have their products in the market.
Senator Villar also asked the Philippine Coconut Authority to allocate P170 million for 17 coconut producing provinces in 2020. As of December 2021, out of the seventeen (17) identified beneficiaries 321 animals have been entrusted to eight (8) cooperatives, located in regions 6,7,8,9 and 12.
As of today, there are a total of 513 individual beneficiaries in 24 locations nationwide provided with 1,226 milking carabaos, (excluding PCA) with the funding support from 2019-2020 by Senator Villar. Milk production should also go to school and community milk feeding programs.
Senator Villar introduced the amendment in Republic Act 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act, which requires the sourcing of fresh milk and fresh milk- based products from local dairy farmers and cooperatives.
She likewise calls on the support of the National Dairy Authority, which shall be given additional budget under Republic Act No. 11524, or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Fund Act.
Under Section 4 of the law, 10% of the trust fund shall be allocated for farm improvements through diversification and/or intercropping with livestock, dairy, poultry, coffee, and cacao production to be implemented by the NDA, DA-High Value Crops Program and the DA BAI-Native Animals Program to be shared equally.
The law seeks to improve the lives of coconut farmers and maximize their farm yield. This can be a big help to the dairy sector. The plan shall set the direction to increase productivity and income of farmers, alleviate poverty as well as rehabilitate and modernize the sector within 50 years.
The Bureau of Treasury shall initially place ₱10 billion to the trust fund and augment the amount in succeeding years or on the second year: ₱10 billion; Third year: ₱15 billion; Fourth year: ₱15 billion and Fifth year: ₱25 billion. (ai/mtvn)