The increasing volume of local production of milk is providing a much-need boost for the livelihood of thousands of farmers and their families nationwide.
This was the observation aired by presenters in describing the current state of the dairy industry in the country during the 18th Dairy Congress and Expo (DairyConEx) held April 28-30 at Lima Park Hotel in Malvar, Batangas.
The congress and exposition are conducted annually by the Dairy Confederation of the Philippines (DairyCon) to serve as venue for the exchange of information on the experiences in innovations and breakthroughs in the areas of production, processing and marketing as well as cooperative development in the local dairy industry.
“It is geared toward raising productivity and incomes of dairy farmers, augmenting the base herd, creating new market niches, and accelerating the realization of a self-reliant countryside,” Juan Lozano, national chair of the DairyConEx, said.
The theme of this year’s event was “Gatas Pinoy: Paunlarin, Tangkilikin, Palaganapin!”
In his message to the DairyConEx participants, which was delivered by Undersecretary for Livestock Jose Reaño, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said: “Nakita natin kung paano lumalago [dumarami] ang nakikilahok at sumusuporta sa ating dairy industry (We have seen how the increasing number of people participating in and supporting our dairy industry). Thanks to their support because we are attaining our set target as contained in the dairy roadmap from 2010 to 2016”.
Reaño said that because of this support, there are now 100,000 families involved in the dairy value chain that include those are earning income from selling milk and milk products, and selling live animals.
He added that there are now 46,000 dairy animals in the Philippines and that the annual milk production in the country now stands at about 20 million liters.
“This volume is 26% higher compared to the milk production output five years ago,” he said.
For her part, National Dairy Authority administrator Grace Cenas revealed that dairy production in the country posted its highest growth of seven percent to date compared to only five percent annual growth rate in the imported milk product in the last five years.
“Today, on the average, one out of three glasses of liquid milk in the country is produced locally,” she said.
The NDA head further added that there are now 84 dairy multiplier farms (DMFs) nationwide, with over 7,000 milking animals on the ground, that are expected to produce at least a thousand head of dairy animals this year.
“From our 2010-2016 targets of 55,000 of dairy animals, we now have 46,638 dairy animals and several thousands of families who are involved in dairying. We already have a credit facility with the Land Bank of the Philippines, set up a buy-back fund to support the crossbreeding and upgrading program, and have pushed stakeholders to improve further animal nutrition, milk production operations, and breeding efficiency,” she said.
Nevertheless, she added, much work has yet to be done and several challenges have to be met.
These include, she said, the limited number of stocks (which is being addressed through the multiplier farm program), promotion of locally produced milk, and the needed competitiveness in light of the coming ASEAN Integration.
Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza of the 4th district of Batangas, who was the keynote speaker of the event, also pointed out that dairying has been progressing much and creating positive developments in the country.
“The dairy industry is on the right path and direction. The dairy sector is developing much its enthusiasm and vigor,” Mendoza, who is currently the chair on committee on agriculture and food in the House of Representatives, said.
The 18th DairyConEx was participated in by top government officials, foreign dignitaries, local government representatives and industry players from various parts of the country.
The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), as one of the major sponsors and exhibitors in the event,
displayed some of its sample dairy products from the Milka Krem dairy outlet in the Science City of Muñoz in Nueva Ecija and sample feed stuff for carabaos that included silage and urea-treated rice straw (UTRS) .
A silage-making video featuring Isagani Cajucom, a farmer-cooperator based in Lupao, Nueva Ecija, who is being assisted by the PCC on his silage production project, was shown during the DairyConEx.
PCC Acting Executive Director Dr. Arnel N. del Barrio, Dr. Daniel Aquino and Dr. Ester B. Flores likewise discussed major topics on the importance of minerals supplementation for dairy animals, feeding for optimum peak and persistency among buffaloes, and the dairy genetics improvement program, respectively.
Celestino Delos Santos, a farmer-trustee of the PCC at University of the Philippines in Los Baños (PCC at UPLB), shared his experiences in dairy buffalo farming while two other farmer-representatives, Jeffrey Lim and Cornelio V. Toreja, shared their experiences in goat and cattle farming, respectively.
The 18th DairyConEx was hosted by the Batangas Dairy Cooperative (BADACO) in cooperation with the 4th Congressional District of Batangas, the Provincial Government of Batangas, the local government units of Malvar town and Lipa City, NDA, PCC, Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Unit IV-A and UPLB-ADSC (Animal and Dairy Sciences Cluster).