By Minerva Newman
TAGBILARAN CITY— Bohol Province is pushing to lead the country’s milk industry after the National Dairy Authority (NDA) and the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) located inside the Ubay Stock Farm started its dairy production from cattle and carabao and Bohol farmers began to adopt dairy production as an alternative source of income.
According to Sen. Cynthia Villar, Senate Committee chairperson on Agriculture and Fisheries who spoke to over 1,000 dairy farmers at the recent 5th Milk Festival in Bohol that Bohol can be like Thailand producing its own milk and show how the milk industry can sustain its people while taking care of the children’s nutrition.
Villar said Thailand was able to feed six million children with 200 milliliters of milk daily by developing its milk production and responding to malnutrition issues.
Villar shared that as a form of Conditional Cash Transfer to its indigent families, the Thai government pays for the milk feeding program, sourcing the milk from its local dairy industry.
Guillerma Abayabay of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) said daily, a native cow and buffalo can produce over a liter of milk while a crossbreed and purebreed can produce over two liters of milk which can be sold for P50 per liter.
A housewife in Bohol who milks farm animals earn P600 a day and increases her income to a thousand pesos having six calves, Abayabay said.
PCC information officer Leniefe Libres Aton said the daily milk production in Bohol increased to 200 liters and still growing as the PCC and NDA dispersed heifers and farm technicians who diligently do house calls for artificial insemination.
The mini-processing centers put up by NDA and PCC saw the entry of locally-made cheese, mozarella, and yoghurt in the local markets. The option to do milk supplemental feeding to school children has likewise opened doors for business sustainability and helped the Bohol Dairy Cooperative sell their milk products.
“Milk supplemental feeding helps to keep track of the school children’s nutritional status. We also test market the milk bars,” Provincial Nutrition Officer, Juliet Manliguez said.
As schools started to sell dairy products in their canteens, the demand grew and more Boholano farmers got interested in dairy production resulting in the creation of the Bohol Integrated Community-based Dairy Farming, a livestock dispersal program that allows farmers the chance to earn more from milk production.