Press Release
September 25, 2015

Villar urges DA to produce more milk to address malnutrition

Sen. Cynthia Villar said improving the country's dairy production is one of the areas that should be prioritized during the hearing on the P90-billion proposed budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

"I discovered that we only produce 1% of our demand for milk. That's very low. We are now looking at programs that will help improve our dismal milk production," Villar said.

Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, also heads the finance subcommittee hearing the proposed 2016 budget of DA.

"I am saddened by the fact that we are depending on imported milk for our needs. Kahit importante ang gatas, marami ang hindi makainom kasi mahal ang imported milk. This is why malnutrition persists among the poor," she said.

Ninety-nine percent of the country's dairy needs are being imported from Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

Villar said the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) and the National Dairy Authority (NDA) should be at the forefront of this endeavor, as she and Finance Committee Chair Sen. Loren Legarda, gave the assurance that they will support a budget that will fund programs aimed at producing more dairy products.

"I suggested to dairy cooperatives to host milk-feeding programs in schools in their communities. If we can aim for one cooperative for each of the 1,600 municipalities, we can provide livelihood to farmers and at the same time address malnutrition among our school children in the countryside," she said.

NDA has a proposed budget of P170 million next year, which will be used to build a foundation stock of dairy animals, among others.

Grace Cenas, NDA administrator said they have to raise the number of milking animals from the current 45,000 to 500,000 to be able to achieve self-sufficiency in milk.

The Nacionalista Party senator also urged the NDA to follow the lead of the PCC and look for foreign grants that will fund the construction of modern facilities and acquisition of relevant equipment.

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