PHILIPPINES – The National Dairy Authority (NDA) has developed industry partnerships with foreign countries in a bid to bring dairy development into the Philippines.
NDA Field Operations Manager Jesus B. So, said that NDA was committed to providing assistance to dairy farmers and organisations interested in dairy farming.
One such partner is the Land O’Lakes, a member-owned agricultural cooperative based in Arden Hills, Minnesota, USA, that has the same components as the NDA, along animal dispersal, milk processing, milk establishment and milk feeding program.
Land O’Lakes has been supporting, since 2005, NDA’s Herd Build-up Program, which is a government strategy of importing cattle from other countries to counter the low milk-producing cattle breeds in the country.
For 25 years now, NDA has been procuring imported cattle from New Zealand which are cross breeds of high milk-producing cows called Friesian cattle and heat-tolerant breed of cows called Sahiwal from Pakistan.
As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR), Land O’Lakes has provided financial assistance to NDA in procuring and helping bring in, this year, 585 pregnant cows and five bulls from New Zealand.
Unloaded in the Port of Cagayan de Oro, the said cows, under the NDA Cow Dispersal Programme are to be dispersed to identified recipients after a 30-day quarantine period in Libona, Bukidnon, in accordance with the NDA’s standard operating procedure.
Mr So said the identification of recipients involves a long process of training and technology preparation that goes over a period of one year.
Once the cattle are declared free of disease and have already adapted to the climate and grass in the country, the Deptartment of Agriculture (DA) will then authorise the dispersal to the identified recipients.
“The programme has been helping farmers acquire additional income and has been helping the country’s economy all the same, because, aside from the milk, new-born cattle are also another source of income,” Mr So said.
Likewise, it is also helping the government solve problems in malnutrition especially among children, through their milk feeding programme.
“If we improve our local milk production, we will be able to fast track the development of our local dairy industry and also minimize importation,” Mr So added.
However, Land O’Lakes’ cattle dispersal programme in the Philippines will end in 2012 after the termination of its last three year project-based scheme that started in 2009.
“But when it comes to dairy development, we will still be partners with the NDA,” Land O’Lakes Foundation Philippines Inc. Operations Manager Marilyn Mabale said.
Moreover, NDA’s cattle dispersal program follows a multi-year procurement plan which will end the importation in 2013.
By then, island-born cattle from the same bloodline of Friesian-Sahiwal breed will be utilised for the sustainability of the program, she said.
“There are a lot of good land here that could be developed to create more dairy farms and you have a big population. The government should see this industry growing,” said Livestock Export General Manager Steve Carson. (PIA-10)
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