Milk production offers viable income for farmers

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Agriculture,  through the National Dairy Authority (NDA),  is pushing for a more sustainable dairy sector to support its current campaign for “Healthier Children, Wealthier Farmers.” 

During a milk feeding program at the Sta. Maria Central School (SMCS) in Bulacan,  NDA administrator Grace J. Cenas said the agency is keen on providing not only delicious, nutritious and quality milk to Filipinos, but also to  help dairy farmers earn substantial and stable income from dairy milk production. 

“The main objective of our feeding program is to promote health among children and assist farmers jumpstart their milk businesses,” she said. 

She said from 1995 to 2013, the NDA through its milk feeding program has supplied a total volume of 21.78 million liters to over one million school children nationwide. 

Of the total, 46 percent  are from Luzon, 29 percent are from Mindanao, and the rest are from the Visayas. 

SMCS teachers, students and their parents have expressed gratitude to the NDA for selecting their school as one of the beneficiaries of the  milk feeding program.

Since the milk feeding program’s  launch on Aug. 1, 104 student-beneficiaries have shown improvement in their health, and have significantly gained weight. 

Cherry Rose Mendoza, mother of a Grade 2 pupil, expressed her gratitude to the NDA  in assuring that children are provided with nutrients necessary for their growth and well-being.

“Malaking tulong po sa amin ang milk feeding activity na ito, at mapalad po kami dahil napili ang aming mga anak na makinabang sa proyektong ito ng pamahalaan,” said  Mendoza.  

The NDA’s milk feeding program, throughout its 18-year  implementation, has helped a total of 11,000 farm-families and milk processors whose combined income has reached a staggering P1.743 billion, for an average income of P160,000 each. 

Felix San Jose, a member of the Sta. Maria Dairy Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, attests to the profitability of dairy milk farming. He learned the intricacies of the enterprise when he was a boy, inheriting it from his father who was able to provide their family’s basic needs and some amenities through the years. 

“I was also able to support my family, send my children to school, and provide what they need everyday,” Mang Felix narrated. 

Cenas assured the  NDA continues to partner with local government units, dairy farmers, processors, and the private sector in implementing its assistance programs to help farmer-producers, processor and consumers.

 Together, she said,  they continue efforts to build a stronger milk industry by implementing initiatives like dairy herd build-up, dairy enterprises support, market development and milk feeding. 

“We envision a vibrant Philippine dairy industry that can substantially provide wholesome, affordable milk to consumers, and in  the process build a nation of healthier children and wealthier farmers,” Cenas said. 

The NDA milk feeding activity in Sta. Maria, Bulacan, is part of the observance of the 2013 World Food Day – with the theme, “Sustainable food systems for food security and nutrition” – in partnership with the DA and United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

The World Food Day  seeks to create awareness on the plight of the hungry and malnourished, and enjoins UN member-countries to craft policies and strategies that  enable the production of safe, quality and nutritious food for all.

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