NDA urges farmers to go into milk production to lessen imports

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 3 Aug) – The National Dairy Authority (NDA) is intensifying its campaign to encourage farmers to venture into fresh milk production as 97 percent of the country’ supply is imported.

NDA department manager Marilyn Mabale, speaking in Monday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM Ciy, said the Philippines spends a whopping P70 billion worth of fresh milk imported annually from New Zealand and Australia to complement the domestic daily production of 6,000 to 7,000 liters.

She said there are only 9,000 cows that produce fresh milk in the country, of which 1,300 are in Davao Region.

“We only have few cows. That’s why our production level is also low,” Mabale said.

The region’s daily requirement ranges from 6,000 to 7,000 liters, but only about 3,000 liters can be produced.

The estimated production level of each cow is 10 liters at a minimum.

“The growth of the industry is static. That’s why are coming out to encourage farmers to produce milk,” Mabale said.

A farmer needs roughly P435,000 to acquire three cows, the minimum requirement to start a milk production venture.

Just this year, the NDA imported 1,394 cows from New Zealand, 494 of which will be dispersed to farmers in Mindanao. Last year, Mindanao got some 650 cows while NDA is proposing another 800 cows next year, of which 300 will go to Mindanao.

Mabale said the breed is a cross between Holstein and Sahiwal.

She added most of the major production areas in Mindanao are located in Northern Mindanao where the regional office of NDA is based.

However, Mabale added they are opening the NDA Southern Mindanao field office to equip the farmers with the technical assistance and technology on cattle raising.

NDA is an adjunct agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA), created by virtue of Republic Act (RA) 7884, otherwise known as National Dairy Development.

It is mandated to “ensure the accelerated development of the Philippine dairy industry through policy direction and program implementation.”