He also directed the DA-National Dairy Authority (NDA) and the DA-Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) to re-tool local production strategies and actively partner with the private sector.
“There is a huge potential in the sector but the challenge continues at all levels. But just because the challenge is there, we cannot be complacent and fail to persevere,” Dar said.
“We need to elevate our game and aim higher in such a way that the NDA and the PCC are able to strategize towards increasing competitiveness, boosting our local milk production and relying less on imports.”
The Philippines is a big importer of dairy products, particularly milk powder, and the majority of the country’s annual dairy requirement is supplied by importers and processors.
In 2020, the Philippine dairy industry saw an increase in local milk production alongside a decrease in imports and exports of milk and dairy products.
A report from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed local milk production grew by 9.5% in 2019 to 26.71m liters in 2020. This is attributed to the increase of the number of dairy animals, consisting of cattle (64%), buffalo (31%), and goat (5%). The lead milk-producing provinces are Davao, Laguna, Bulacan, Bukidnon and Batangas.
Milk and dairy imports dropped by 14% to 2.163bn liters from 2.516bn liters year on year. Around 1bn of this is in the form of skimmed milk powder. Other dairy imported products included whey powder, liquid ready-to-drink milk, buttermilk powder, butter fat/dairy spread, cream, whole milk powder, and cheese.
“While there’s a notable increase in milk production, it is still not enough to supply the local demand,” the agriculture secretary said.
“Let us triple our efforts, particularly in implementing modernizing programs, employing state-of-the-art facilities, and seeking collaborations with stakeholders such as cooperatives, private farms, government farms, milk traders, and commercial processors.
“The recent joint declaration signing between the Philippines and France will play a huge part in our effort to beef up the sector. Both countries have committed to facilitate links between dairy producers and associations, agricultural and agri-food companies, and importers and distributors. A developed dairy industry will provide livelihood opportunities for our local dairy farmers and cooperatives, creating sustainable markets for them.”