Sarangani eyed as major dairy producer

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The provincial government of Sarangani is pushing for the expansion in the next two years of the area’s dairy stock as it moves to build up the area as major producer of dairy products.

Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon said in a statement that they have tied up with the Department of Agriculture and the National Dairy Authority (NDA) for the provision of additional dairy cattle and the implementation of initiatives in support of the area’s fledgling dairy industry.

He said the province has a current inventory of 160 heads of dairy cattle that are all under the care of a cooperative in Malungon town.

The milk produced out of the dairy stock is processed by a plant operated by the Malungon Dairy Farmers’ Association (MADAFA) based in Barangay Malalag Cogon in Malungon, he said.

Data released by Sarangani veterinary office showed that the cooperative currently produces an average of 900 liters of milk per day.

The dairy plant was established in 2011 by the cooperative through a funding support from Land O’ Lakes Cooperative based in the United States.

“The cooperative (MADAFA) is presently expanding its operations and is targeting to increase its production to around 1,200 to 1,500 liters per day by October this year,” Solon said.

The governor said the local government has been assisting the cooperative in terms of linkages with the NDA and other dairy industry stakeholders.

The provincial government served as co-host of the 17th Dairy Congress and Expo (DairyConEx) that was held in this city earlier this month.

The DairyConEx, which gathered around 500 dairy stakeholders from various parts of the country, also showcased various technologies available to the industry.

Solon said the conference was a good venue to develop some strategies to improve the quality and competitiveness of Philippine dairy products in the markets.

In 2013, data released by the NDA showed that the country’s dairy production reached 19.45 million liters, increasing by a million liters when compared to 2012.

The net supply, mostly coming from imports, stood at 321.64 million kilograms (kg) last year, which is five percent higher than the previous year’s net supply of 305.80 million kg.

Imports of milk and dairy products increased by one percent or from 305.45 million kg to 309.06 million kg.

NDA said the country’s sufficiency level in terms of local dairy production was only listed at a dismal one percent but it still exported some 6.88 million kg of dairy products last year.

About 76 percent of the dairy exports comprised whole milk powder while the remaining 24 percent were condensed milk and cheese. (MindaNews)