PHL working to cut milk imports, meet local demand

MUNOZ, Nueva Ecija — The government is adopting various strategies to increase milk production in a bid to meet local demand and reduce import requirements over the next 10 to 15 years.

Philippine Carabao Center (PCC)-Central Luzon State University Director Dr. Daniel Aquino said milk production should be increased by 3 percent to 10 percent, or double or triple than the population growth.

“We should not rely always on importation. We are 99 percent import dependent… If we can produce locally, well and good,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of a three-day National Carabao Conference 2016 that ended here on Wednesday.

Aquino identified needed interventions, including stock infusion, increasing breeding efficiency/proper calf rearing, and proper nutrition or biosafety.

He also cited PCC’s three-year project for dairy, in collaboration of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), which targets to increase milk production from 700,000 kilograms in 2016 to two million kilograms by 2018.

Aquino underscored the need for the country to achieve milk self-sufficiency to reduce importation valued at USD 876.2 million, or about Php 40.3 billion.

To meet 100-percent sufficiency for milk, he said animal requirement include 67,539 dairy cattle producing 2,000 kilograms; 62,736 buffaloes producing 1,200 kilogram; and 8,120 of goat producing 500 kilograms annually.

Aquino further said the country also aims to export more milk to generate profit.

“We also produce high-end products; export to other countries particularly Asian countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia,” he added. Leslie Venzon/PNA-northboundasia.com