Farmer Organizations train for Dairy Cattle Project

Thu, 11/23/2023 - 07:52
Farmer Organizations train for Dairy Cattle Project

STA. MARGARITA, BONTOC, Eastern Visayas - Milk stands as the key output in dairy farming. Farmers often sell their milk to cooperatives or local processors, leading to the production of diverse dairy items. However, local dairy supply falls short of meeting demand in the Philippines. To reduce reliance on imports and address the trade deficit, enhancing the competitiveness of the dairy industry is essential.

Addressing these concerns, ATI-RTC 8 conducted Farmer Livestock Schools on Dairy Cattle Operation and Management. This year, 3 batches of FLS were conducted in the municipalities of Sta. Margarita in Samar, Bontoc in Southern Leyte, and Sulat in Eastern Samar. These FLS aimed to improve farmers’ understanding, capabilities, and approach to the management and operations of dairy cattle. The FLS is in line with the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Program (CFIDP) wherein coconut enterprises are integrated with the livestock component for more productivity among farmers.

Among the topics discussed during the FLS were the features of the CFIDP and its various components. Representatives from the National Dairy Authority (NDA) served as resource persons to discuss on Dairy Engineering, Herd Management, Animal Health, Milking operations and Dairy Nutrition. It is vital that these topics be discussed to ensure quality dairy products especially in the preparation for the dairy cattle projects in each municipality conducted with the training.

Mylene Casaljay, a participant of the FLS in Sta. Margarita on July 5- November 10, 2023, thanked the agencies responsible for the livelihood opportunity for Sta. margarita farmers. “This project is a jumpstart in improving our lives. To my fellow beneficiaries, let’s work together to achieve our goal.” The daily cattle project is aimed to support farmer organizations. The project is under the National Dairy Authority. For Sta. Margarita, the ARBA Farmers Association was identified to be the recipient of the project. Teresita Casaljay, another participant said, “As a member of the ARBA farmers association, I will do my part to contribute to the target of the project.” The group hopes that the project will be implemented soon in their municipality.

For AFAOFI Farmers Association in Bontoc, Southern Leyte, their FLS was conducted on July 19-October 27, 2023. They will also be recipients of the dairy cattle project by the NDA. “This training enabled us to prepare the necessary requirements for the dairy cattle project.” Felix Leopardas said. According to him, they still need to work hard and add more forages to cope with the needs of the cattle that will be provided to them soon. “Preparation is one of the keys to the success of this project.” He added.

NDA technical staff did site validation and assessment to evaluate if the area identified for forage resource is suitable of the coming dairy project. Thirty-one (31) participants attended the FLS in Sta. Margarita while Twenty-six (26) attended the FLS in Bontoc. Currently, the third batch of the FLS on Dairy Cattle Operation is conducted at Sulat, Eastern Samar and will be culminating on the 24th of November 2023.

The National Dairy Authority (NDA) highlighted the dairy sub-sector's substantial 16.8% contribution to the Philippines' agricultural value. In 2021, the total dairy production reached 26.3 thousand MT, grossing Php 1.408 billion with a notable 16.7% growth in gross earnings. Despite this, the country only produces 1% of its 2.5 billion-liter milk demand, resulting in a reliance on 99% imported dairy products. The program hopes to increase the dairy industry’s competitiveness for the country to rely less on imports, and minimize the current trade deficit.