By MARK FRANCISCO, Staff Writer
AROUND 500 participants of the recently-concluded 20th National Dairy Congress helped craft the country’s position paper aimed to boost the local dairy industry before the Asean Dairy Network and the Global Dairy Trust.
The annual congress, which was held this year at the Mambajao Convention Center in Camiguin from May 3 to 5, converged dairy farmers from 52 provinces, reported Debbie San Miguel, information officer of the National Dairy Authority 10.
As of presstime, the details embodied in the position paper has not yet been known but dairy farmers are more concerned that Filipinos patronize more processed milk from other countries rather than their own.
Besides, dairy farms in the Philippines can process only 17 million liters of fresh milk a year or one percent of our demand, said Dairy Confederation of the Philippines chair Juan Lozano. That’s equivalent to 45,439 dairy animals accounted for in the country consisting of cattle, buffaloes and goats.
Although the dairy goat sector is fast rising in the country, Lozano admitted that it could not still cope with the local demand. Besides, he added that there would be a lot of educational drives to do before the local market would embrace it.
And then there’s the issue of milk quality and safety concerns. Lozano said the Dairy Confederation of the Philippines is batting for a strict implementation of the Philippine Food Safety Act of 2013 in the dairy sector so the Philippines could compete with global standards and create a niche in the international arena.
To cope with these challenges, Lozano said more collaborations between the government and the dairy sector are needed.
Other topics discussed in the three-day congress were the Philippine National Standard Code of Hygienic Practice of Milk, business opportunities in Asean integration, animal welfare laws, good animal husbandry practices for large and small ruminants, emerging diseases on ruminants, role of assisted reproductive technologies in the development of the dairy industry, science and technology interventions to improve milk production in buffaloes, importance of quarantine and more.
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