PCC, other stakeholders take close look at Thai dairy industry

A tripartite delegation led by Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) Acting Executive Director Dr. Arnel N. Del Barrio and PCC at Ubay Stock Farm Center Director Caro B. Salces took a close look at the dairy industry of Thailand on July 3-10.

Thai Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Thanatip Upatising  joined the group in their week-long visit, which was sponsored by the Royal Thai Embassy in Manila.

The activity was aimed at enhancing stronger PH-Thai technical cooperation in the dairy industry.

Aside from the PCC officers, other delegates came from the National Dairy Authority (NDA) and Dairy Confederation of the Philippines (DairyConPhil).

The Thailand visit featured briefings and discussions about recent developments and progress in dairy-related research and development, dairy farm operations, milk collection, feed processing and Thai buffalo conservation efforts. Visits were made to dairy farms and facilities as well as government institutions involved in dairy industry development.

At the Pak Thong Chai Dairy Farm, which has 700 milking cows, the delegation was briefed on frozen semen production, feed production, processing of manure for fertilizer, and steady supply of freshwater for use in the farm.

The group also visited the Kham Thale So Dairy Cooperative to observe its operations. The co-op collects 14 tons of milk per day from its 95 members.

According to Dr. Del Barrio, Ambassador Thanatip informed them that his country focuses on three important considerations in dairy industry development, namely, commitment to their dairy industry, both by the government and the stakeholders; the participation of the private sector in the industry; and guaranteed market for the farmers’ milk produce through a milk feeding program.

The ambassador also mentioned that based on a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),  his country has 4.5M dairy cattle, of which 1.5 million head are in Pak Chong province, producing 1M tons of fresh per year. The total milk production meets about 66% of the demand in the Thai market.

In that area, 60 to70 dairy cooperatives are operating with 60% of the dairy farmers, or about 20,000 are coop members. Dairying, in that province, has become a profitable business and is treated as a family enterprise, ensuring steady income for the family members.

At the Nakhon Ratchasima Animal Nutrition Research and Development Center and the TMR production facility, presentations were made on the use of Napier grass in beef production, dairy production and biogas for energy.

The Philippine delegation were also able to visit the C.P. Meiji in Nong Khae, Saraburi , which has demonstrated successful milk processing business; the B.P. Animal Feed Company for the animal feed business; a  buffalo village where a Thai buffalo conservation center is located;  a Murrah buffalo farm for small-scale buffalo farm and business in which its store heralds the tagline “It is not only homemade, it is farm made”; and the Royal Projects at Chitralada Palace in Bangkok.

“In the palace, Dr. Utta Jamikorn, assistant professor of Chulalongkorn University, briefed us about the existence of the first cloned swamp buffalo in Thailand. The ear tissue was used to produce the clone, which is now about four years old and it is exactly the same as the origin of the tissue sample,” Del Barrio said.

Upon his return home, the PCC head re-echoed the group’s experiences and learnings to all the employees at the agency’s national headquarters.

“I witnessed the robustness of their dairy industry. They started like us, but now they are producing more than 60% of their local requirements. The objective of the Thai Embassy is food security, saying that if milk production is not increased, in the future, we might face food scarcity,” Dr. Del Barrio stated.