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Cebu News

DA, NDA to boost local dairy industry

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Cebu - The Department of Agriculture and the National Dairy Authority are moving to increase the self sufficiency in milk products of Central Visayas as local dairy products start to gain popularity with big establishments operating in the region.

NDA-7 regional manager Grace Cenas, in a Philippine Information Agency report, said that about 200 dairy cows to be imported from New Zealand will be distributed by DA in the region within this year.

This is to strengthen Cebu as the only existing dairy zone in the region because Negros Oriental is still being developed to be another dairy zone next to Cebu.

Cebu has the most number of local dairy farmers numbering to over 300 households or about 1,500 individuals primarily producing fresh milk.

NDA revealed that there are less than 1,000 dairy cows in the region while 28,000 heads are needed to sufficiently supply the fresh milk demand and milk processing for other dairy products.

Cenas said that since coffee chains and world-class resorts in Cebu started patronizing local dairy products, local dairy farmers have increased their production which has also increased their income. At present, 35 percent of the total fresh milk production in Cebu’s dairy farms is being bought by these establishments.

This, Cenas said, is a clear indicator that local dairy products can now compete with imported ones in terms of quality and affordability. NDA even told the public that local farmers offer fresh milk which is a lot better than imported ones which are reconstituted milk.

NDA-7 said that the milk feeding program of the government has also contributed to the boost of the local dairy industry. She reported that just last year, the Cebu Provincial Government allotted P5 million for its milk feeding program which patronized local milk products.

At the height of the melamine scare last year demands for local milk increased by 20 to 50 percent.

Another proposal of NDA to increase the milk sufficiency of the country includes the exploring of other milk sources from other animals like goats and carabaos. NDA also suggests massive artificial insemination to increase the number of dairy animals.

NDA-7 is currently advocating the planting of legumes as livestock feeds for dairy animals. Cenas said that legumes are very rich in crude protein, even richer than costly feed concentrates.

Grasses and herbaceous plants are other forage feeds for dairy animals that are considered rich in crude protein and cheap sources of energy for animal growth. The mass propagation of forages can help the dairy farmer save on expenses.

NDA said that forages also enhance soil fertility and is useful in the farming system. — Jessica Ann R. Pareja/BRP (THE FREEMAN)

CEBU CEBU PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT CENAS CENTRAL VISAYAS DAIRY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND THE NATIONAL DAIRY AUTHORITY GRACE CENAS JESSICA ANN R LOCAL MILK NDA
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