“Bohol can be a model in showing the rest of the country how to develop the dairy industry for the benefit of everyone. If it can be done in this province, then it can be done in the whole country as well.”
This was underscored by Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, in her keynote message during the 5th Bohol Milk Festival held last November 28 at the Farmers Trading Post, Lomangog, Ubay, Bohol.
In her speech, she extended her appreciation towards the efforts of the province in organizing such activity to live up to its unofficial title as “dairy capital of the country”.
She also shared how the Bohol Dairy Cooperative (BoDaCo), assisted by the Philippine Carabao Center at Ubay Stock Farm (PCC@USF), inspired her to work on a project or program that will not only help provide income opportunities for dairy farmers but also address malnutrition incidence among children.
“I am glad that this cooperative in Ubay has milk processing plant and dairy products outlet. The co-op’s members know how to play their roles well. They find ways to promote their products by participating in exhibits and trade fairs. You [BoDaCo] are really my inspiration. Every time I go to other places, I always tell them to replicate Ubay’s dairy value chain,” she said.
She added that the BoDaCo, which is a model for backyard dairy production, also won the Villar Sipag Award in 2018.
Sen. Villar further imparted a brief story to inspire others. She recalled that when she visited the USF, she had an encounter with a local housewife who tended and milked three carabaos. The housewife sold the harvested milk to the town’s dairy products outlet named “Bohol Dairy”, a store being managed by PCC where BoDaCo toll processed their products. The milk sales provided them an income of Php600 a day or Php18,000 a month.
The backyard dairy production in Ubay coupled with PCC’s concept of the Dairy Box branding has impressed Sen. Villar that she provides budget for this value chain to be replicated in all provinces across the country.
Meanwhile, PCC Executive Director Dr. Arnel del Barrio took cognizance of this challenge and therefore called forth an active participation and cooperation of dairy value chain players.
“As we embark on the challenge to increase more our local dairy production, I humbly ask for the help of others and partners as PCC cannot do it alone. We need to level up our production and when we say dairy, we’re not only pertaining to carabaos, it also includes other dairy animals like cattle and goat,” he stressed.
Dr. William Medrano, Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Assistant Secretary for Livestock, mentioned about the DA’s goal, which is aligned with the festival’s theme: “Dobleng Ani, Dobleng Kita: Sa Panggatasan, Himsog nga Kabataan, Adlaw Adlaw ang Kinitaan”.
He said that all the program, projects, and activities of the department are anchored on achieving DA’s twin objectives of abundant harvest and higher income among farmers.
The highlight of the 5th Bohol Milk Festival was the launching of school-based milk feeding program with the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as lead agencies. It is in relation to the Republic Act No. 11037 or the “Masustansyang Pagkain Para sa Batang Pilipino Act” that was passed into law last year, which aims to address the problem of undernutrition among Filipino children.
Governor Arthur Yap, on the other hand, said that the government aims to provide milk products to the 20,000 malnourished children in the province.
He added that the DepEd has the budget to purchase the milk supply but Bohol still needs to increase its production to meet the demand through artificial insemination and breeding of 2,000 carabaos and cattle.
Other activities included were launching of Bohol Integrated Community-based Dairy farming, entrustment of dairy buffaloes and awarding of dairy supplies and equipment to farmers, sharing of farmers’ best practices, lecture on Milk Hygiene and Food Safety, and farm tour.
The event was spearheaded by the Provincial Government of Bohol thru the Provincial Veterinary Office headed by Dr. Stella Marie Lapiz and was co-conducted by the PCC, National Dairy Authority, BoDaCo, DA, LGU-Ubay, DSWD, and DepEd.