NDA eyes unused USAID fund to boost PH dairy production
MANILA, Philippines — The National Dairy Administration (NDA) is looking to tap an unused fund from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to boost the country’s dairy production and lessen its reliance on imports.
Its dairy goat farming program, set to be launched next week, will see the distribution of goat heads and the establishment of goat farms and processing plants in 69 areas nationwide.
The program is expected to increase the country’s capacity to produce milk – an important component for mothers and children. At present, the Philippines imports 99 percent of its annual dairy requirement of 2 million metric tons.
USAID has allocated P1.56 billion to the Philippines under its U.S. Public Law 480 scheme, commonly known as the Food for Peace. Through the aid, the U.S. government donates food commodities – in this case, dairy goats – to countries requesting assistance in combatting hunger and malnutrition.
NDA spokesperson Karen Joy Manalo said the funding was already approved by the Department of Budget and Management in 2018, and would be directly released to the agency.
It would be used to purchase goat farms that would be propagated in various provinces, and to provide infrastructure, technology and other inputs to increase goat milk production.
With the budget, NDA aims to distribute around 7,875 heads of dairy goats to new and existing dairy areas nationwide. It is also looking to establish 75 dairy goat farms, 10 mini milk processing plants, and six semen collection and processing centers.
The project is expected to supply 1.2 million liters of goat milk in the country’s feeding programs and increase national dairy goat inventory to 19,125 heads from 13,975 heads.
Hopes are high that addressing the lack of dairy infrastructure and high production costs could breathe new life into the sector amid the increasing demand for milk. /muf
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