MAMBAJAO, Camiguin, April 17 (PIA) — The country’s dairy industry has generated sales of about 1 billion dollars.
In the island, the local government has seen this potential and gone beyond this number by strengthening their dairy farm to address malnutrition and providing livelihood to various sectors.
How the dairy farm started
The Camiguin Dairy Farm started with the initiative of the late Rep. Pedro P. Romualdo but was not favorably acted upon not until March 12, 2012 when the National Dairy Authority (NDA) considered the project application.
The project was then approved under the animal distribution program of NDA dubbed as “Dairy Multiplier Farm (DMF)” operation. The Memorandum of Agreement was then signed through Resolution No. 121, Series of 2012.
It was on Sept.18, 2013 when the 25 pregnant dairy cows were transported from Del Monte Philippines to Camiguin.
“At first I was hesitant to have that 25 heads; maybe we just have to accept 15,” Dr. Louis Bollozos of the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) said as he thought that they do not have the equipment and facility to house the allocated cows to the province.
However, Governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo assured support to the project and has even helped in developing Pasteur areas, building, barn and even the road going to the area.
The dairy farm is now located at Campana, Pandan, Mambajao, Camiguin which has a very rough road but is currently addressed through the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) Konkreto at Ayos na LanSAngan ang DAan tungo sa Pangkalahatang Kaunlaran (KALSADA) project.
“As of today, we have about 92 heads for females,” Bollozos shared.
From this number, they get about 200 liters of milk every day. “We spare about 60-80 liters to feed the cubs and the 120 liters are used for feeding and livelihood programs.
Addressing malnutrition, economic problems
The primary aim of putting up the dairy farm is to address the problem on malnutrition among school-aged children.
Since December 2013, the province has started the milk feeding program in schools with high record of severely wasted malnourished children.
“Before our malnutrition incidence was at 7 percent and today it goes down to only 3 percent,” Bollozos said. Adding that they have already provided about 23,440 liters of milk in their feeding program.
Moreover, Governor Ma. Luisa Romualdo suggested that aside from fresh milk, they could shift to making other products such as pastillas, milk bar, ice cream and even cheese.
“The KALIPI (Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina) made the white cheese but since the constituents are not used to eating such, the product was not viable to us,” Bollozos stressed.
However, with the aid of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) the PAO has come up with other job and economic opportunities for the locals.
“The DOST has extended financial assistance to the project amounting to P1.780M for the procurement of equipment for the milk processing plant while the DTI offered skills training to the women particularly on ice cream making,” Bollozos said.
The doctor also added that a lot of locals and professionals also seek to work in the farm for experience and skills training that they can use in applying for jobs in New Zealand, Australia and other dairy-farming countries.
Dairy farm direction
“Our plan is to have this milk all over Camiguin,” Bollozos expressed.
He also added that aside from feeding the children, they are also teaching the young ones to appreciate the milk as it is. “We do not go into flavored milk. It is because somebody told me that if you want to teach your children to drink milk, do not give flavored milk,” he said.
The dairy farm also gives a source of income to its 27 farm workers and Bollozos shared that they are planning to expand the industry so they can give more job opportunities to their constituents.
At present, the fresh milk per one-liter bottle is sold at P50 and it lasts for about 5-7 days since there are no preservatives and added flavors in it.
“The 20th Dairy Congress and Expo will also be held in the island on May. Hence, we are hopeful that we could boost the industry and be properly equipped in developing such for the benefit of all,” Bollozos said.(RTP/PIA10)