As the central policy determining body tasked to ensure the accelerated development of the dairy industry in the country through policy direction, program coordination and implementation, the National Dairy Authority (NDA) highlighted the challenges and development efforts to boost the industry during the 20th Dairy Congress and Expo on May 3-5 at the Provincial Convention Center, Mambajao town, Camiguin.
Rene De Guzman of NDA presented the major challenges of the dairy industry in the country and these include the limited dairy stock, implementation of Food Safety Act, milk quality and safety concerns, ASEAN integration, and local milk patronage.
To address such, major programs are implemented by the NDA and these are the Dairy Herd Build Up, Dairy Enterprise Enhancement, Milk Feeding, and Milk Safety and Quality Assurance.
The Dairy Herd Build Up aims to increase local dairy stocks and milk production as the sector suffered significantly because of lose credit standards. It involves the importation of dairy animals and distribute such to dairy multiplier farm operators.
To ensure the viability and sustainability of local dairy enterprises, the Dairy Enterprise Enhancement Program is implemented. The program also aims to establish the marketability of locally produced milk.
The milk feeding program on the other hand, targets to address malnutrition of children and create livelihood opportunities for local dairy farmers who are tapped as suppliers of milk.
To protect human health in the consumption of milk and dairy products, the Milk Safety and Quality Assurance Program has been created. This ensures market access of local foods and food products by promoting and educating the dairy stakeholders in the adoption of safety standard protocols from milk production to postharvest handling.
Furthermore, NDA stressed that it is important to immediately address the challenges of the industry since milk and cream products ranked third in the Top 5 agri-imports and it could go higher with proper implementation of programs and participation of dairy players.
In 2016, the local milk production reached 21.16 million liters and recently, there are already 59 provinces, 480 dairy players, and 4,349 dairy animals in the Philippines. From this number, northern Mindanao has 80 dairy players and 7,779 dairy animals.