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Milk production up, importation down - NDA

MANILA, Philippines, March 13 ------ The country has recorded an increase in local milk production and a decrease in milk importation, according to the National Dairy Administration. NDA officials said the country’s current milk import is down to 98 percent from 99 percent last year.  


In his speech during the 29th anniversary of the NDA in Quezon City yesterday, NDA officer-in-charge Gavino Alfredo Benitez said the agency was on track toward attaining its goal to increase local milk sufficiency by five percent in 2028, with a target of 80 million liters. “I am pleased to share that based on the figures we have received, we project that by 2025 we will be halfway through our goal, with milk production by then at about 40 million liters. With our continued efforts and teamwork, we will soon reach or even surpass our target,” Benitez said. 


Data from the NDA showed that herd production grew by 45 percent, from 52,000 in 2018 to 75,000 in 2023. Milk production grew by 65 percent, from 17 million liters in 2018 to 28 million liters in 2023. Meanwhile, Danilo Fausto, president of the Philippine Chamber of Agriculture and Food Inc. (PCAFI), contradicted the figures of the NDA, saying the total local milk production remains below one percent. “In the past 45 years, we’ve been developing the dairy industry. We are still below the one percent sufficiency level. We need to do something about it,” Fausto said. 


Fausto, who is also chairman of the Dairy Confederation of the Philippines, said the Department of Agriculture should implement Republic Act 7884 or the Dairy Development Act. The law requires multinational companies to source five percent of their requirement from local suppliers. “We are insisting on the implementation of section 17 of RA 7884, which is the Dairy Development Act. That section requires commercial processors and traders, the multinationals who sell dairy products in the country, to source a certain percentage of their requirement from local suppliers,” Fausto said. 


He said local stakeholders raised the issue during a meeting with Agriculuture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. on Thursday. “We requested the secretary to implement it now. If the suppliers cannot meet the demands of these multinational companies, we request them to come to the Philippines and put up their dairy farms here. If they will not do that, we proposed that we impose special safeguard duties on imported dairy products and these special duties will be used to develop the dairy industry,” Fausto added. 


Meanwhile, the NDA is seeking a more than five-fold increase in its budget next year to bankroll programs intended to boost local milk production and attain the five percent target in the country’s requirement by 2028. Agriculture officials said they would lobby for a P3-billion budget for the NDA next year, or an increase of about 478 percent from the agency’s current funding of P520 million. The higher budget will be used to establish one “dairy zone” in every island region and in other areas to boost milk production and stimulate local economies, the NDA said. 


The request to increase the budget of the NDA is part of the agency’s goal for local milk production, which is to meet at least five percent of the country’s total requirement in four years’ time. “I have emphasized the importance of investing in the dairy industry, recognizing it as a low-hanging fruit with immense potential for immediate impact, especially in combating undernourishment among children,” Laurel said in a message read by Agriculture Undersecretary Agnes Miranda on his behalf. “We will make sure that the NDA will get the funding that it needs, starting with the earmarked P3 billion for the expansion of the NDA operations,” Laurel added. 




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