Government budgets P1.5 billion to expand dairy output

Louisse Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture has budgeted P1.5 billion to triple milk production to meet the increasing demand for dairy products of an expanding population.

The National Dairy Authority (NDA) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) have earmarked a P1.5 billion budget per year to support dairy production.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar underscored the importance of increasing the population of dairy herds to meet local milk requirements of the country. Even with the combined performance of the NDA and the Philippine Carabao Center, the current total milk production is still at a low level of 1.2 percent.

“It is critical to increase the population of dairy cattle and upgraded carabaos, which could produce at least 12-15 liters of milk per day,” he said.

He also urged the private sector to support the local dairy farmers by leading the development initiatives for the dairy industry in every province in the country.

“We will give incentives to private entities that will bring in improved breeds for dairy production,” Dar said.

Dar said a credit window facility with two to four percent interest rate under the Land Bank of the Philippines would be available to support the sector.

Last year, the country’s dairy sector produced 23,690 metric tons of milk, up 5.4 percent.

Despite this, the Philippines still hiked its imports of dairy products by 21 percent last year amid increasing consumption coupled with favorable global prices.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported earlier that the country imported some 3.5 million MT liquid milk equivalent. Skim milk powder and whole milk powder imports comprise about 57 percent of the total dairy imports.

According to the USDA, liquid milk imports should continue to increase this year due to rising consumption and increased use in food service, particularly in coffee shops.

The average Philippine milk production per animal at eight liters per day remains low mainly because of poor feed and management practices, compounded with high production costs and a lack of adequate dairy infrastructure.

Dairy products are currently the country’s third largest agricultural import after wheat and soybean meal.

Major suppliers are New Zealand at 39 percent, US (21 percent) and Australia (seven percent).



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