Press Release
September 1, 2020

Villar chides PCC official for not implementing P450-million dairy project

Sen. Cynthia Villar today presided over a committee hearing to inquire into the status of the country's dairy industry and the non-implementation of P450-million worth of dairy projects designed to help improve the dairy production and to provide livelihood opportunities in farming communities.

Villar, chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, authored Proposed Senate Resolution No. 504 directing an inquiry on the state of the dairy industry as implemented by the National Dairy Authority (NDA) and the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) under the Department of Agriculture.

"The NDA and the PCC have been in existence for 25 years and 28 years, respectively, and we continue to import more than 99 percent of our demand for dairy. This means we have been missing the opportunity to make our kababayan, especially the farmers, benefit from the dairy industry as a source of additional income and for our children to have access to affordable milk," Villar said.

Villar also inquired from PCC Executive Arnel del Barrio why the P450-million worth of projects that will build dairy processing centers to 28 locations and provide intercropping opportunities to coconut farmers in different parts of the country was not implemented.

The lady senator has allocated P10 million each to 28 locations or a total of P280 million for the project aside from the budget of PCC. She had also asked the Philippine Coconut Authority to allocate P170 million for 17 coconut producing provinces to make a total of P450 million.

Villar said the total milk production in 2018 is 23,690,000 liters while the demand is 2.345 billion liters, showing that local production is only at 0.6966%, even less than 1% of the total demand of milk by Filipinos.

She also cited the Commission on Audit (COA) Report released in January 2020, saying that the dairy program that cost P2.85 billion to implement appears to have achieved only "minimal improvement" in increasing the number of dairy animals In the Philippines.

The Herd Build-Up Program ran for 6 years, from 2012 to 2018. It Started with 39,069 dairy animals but ended up with only 47,600 animals at the most recent count in 2018 and included cattle and carabaos. The program aimed to increase the local supply contribution for milk to 10% from a 2012 local supply figure of 1%.

COA attributed the failure to the lack of coordination among key agencies, the lack of well-defined roles and responsibilities for the dairy Industry's stakeholders, operational issues, and significant cattle and buffalo mortality rates which led to the non-attainment of Dairy Road Map targets.

"We are holding this inquiry in order to find out why the dairy industry has not been contributing as expected in increasing the milk production and the increase in the number of dairy animals. This is despite having two government agencies assisting farmers. More than 23 years have passed for the country's dairy program to fly but it has remained on the ground," Villar said.

"The objective is to improve dairy production to ultimately make an Impact on reducing poverty and improving child nutrition in many rural households," she added.

During the hearing, among the issues raised is the non-delivery or incomplete delivery in some areas of dairy animals. The absence of processing centers and training program for forage production are also among the problems identified.

Since last year, Villar has been working on a project establishing Carabao-Based Enterprise Development Centers all over the country after her encounter with a local housewife in Ubay, Bohol, who raised one milking carabaos and sells the milk to the dairy processing center. This model provided an opportunity for the housewife to earn Php 300 a day or Php 9,000 a month.

Villar wants to give the same opportunity to other people in the country and has identified 28 areas where the model will be replicated. These areas include Abra, La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, Nueva Vizacaya, Bataan, Bulacan, Laguna, Tarlac, Palawan, Albay, Masbate, Negros Oriental, Iloilo, Cebu, Siquijor, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Compostela Valley, North Cotabato, and South Cotabato.

Villar also introduced the amendment in Republic Act 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act, which requires the sourcing of fresh milk and fresh milk-based products from local dairy farmers and cooperatives.

"With this provision, the law institutionalizing a national feeding program will not only address undernourishment among children, but will also create a market for local dairy which, if sustained, will eventually develop our local dairy industry," Villar said.

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