MANILA - The National Dairy Authority (NDA) on Thursday announced plans to increase local milk production by 500 percent, or an equivalent of 80 million liters, within 5 years.
During World Milk Day, NDA administrator Gabriel Lagamayo said at present, local production serves only 1 percent of the national dairy requirement.
"Yung 1 percent, eto yung sufficiency level natin. As the population grows, lumalaki din production natin, pero hindi nakakahabol sa growth ng populasyon natin," Lagamayo said.
While cooperatives are being strengthened to accelerate dairy production, many private cooperatives still encounter roadblocks toward increasing production levels of milk.
Emeliza Laurenciana, chair of the Santa Maria Dairy Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, enumerated problems in the dairy industry.
These include the non-availability of island-born milking cows, longer time needed for raising calves to milking dams, imported milking cows not being acclimatized to Philippine weather, and mismatch in daily consumption and fresh milk supply production.
However, the NDA and the Dairy Confederation of the Philippines are both optimistic that 2023 production will surpass last year’s.
"Sa tingin ko kaya, the trajectory is there," said Danny Fausto, president of the Dairy Confederation of the Philippines.
To grow production sixfold, Lagamayo said they are looking into improving the daily average production of every cow from 8-10 liters to 15-16 liters through better feed quality.
The NDA is initiating the establishment of feed centers in rural areas to address one of the most costly farm inputs.
Furthermore, Lagamayo said they are also looking into developing 5 stock farms in different parts of the country, including General Tinio, Nueva Ecija; Guinobatan, Albay; Ubay, Bohol; Malaybalay, Bukidnon; and Davao City.
These farms will breed island-born animals which are expected to improve the dairy herd in the Philippines.
The agency is also looking into acquiring 2,000 heads of cattle from overseas to increase the number of milk-producing cows in the country.
Fausto said currently, there are 2.8 million carabaos and 2.6 million cows in the country, but only a small part of these are used for dairy production.
A large portion of our dairy needs is sourced from imports, mostly from the US, New Zealand, Belgium, and Australia.
But Lagamayo admits the road to self-sufficiency still isn't on the horizon,
"Marami-raming pondo kakailanganin diyan," he said.
Fausto believes if growth can be sustained, the Philippines can have a milk self-sufficiency of at least 7% in the future.
FROM THE ARCHIVES