UBAY, Bohol – Sen. Cynthia Villar eyes forging a law developing the livestock, poultry, and dairy vertical industries in the country, which she said do not get the commensurate budget allocation from the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Villar, the chairperson of the Senate’s Committee on Agriculture and Food, visited Ubay town on Monday to check on the Ubay Stock Farm and to meet with officials of the Philippine Carabao Center and the National Dairy Authority based in Bohol together with some stakeholders in the dairy industry here.
In a short recorded interview with local media aired over local dyTR-AM radio station, the lady senator lamented the disproportionate budget allocation for livestock, poultry, and dairy which get only two percent of the agriculture department budget, while accounting for 33 percent of the total agricultural production in the country.
Her proposed bill will, via legislation, provide more budget to the livestock, poultry, and dairy industries compared to what is being presently allocated.
Villar said she has particular interest on the dairy industry since only one percent of the demand for milk in the country is sourced locally. About 99 percent of the dairy supply, she said, is imported.
Villar said since imported milk is more expensive, more Filipino children are unable to drink due to the high prices of imported dairy products.
She visited the province in an effort to go out here way to find out the state of the dairy industry in various places.
She told reporters she frequently visits places near her, but she needed to expand her observations to include places such as Bohol, with a bustling dairy industry.
She pushed for better animal dispersal of the government to focus on carabaos for milk production, rather than imported cattle.
Villar said imported cows may not be better suited to the tropical weather in the Philippines. She batted for more carabaos since the animal is best suited to the humid weather in the country.
The senator arrived in the northern town of Ubay via helicopter from Cebu, and left around noon back to Cebu.
IMPROVEMENT IN THE DAIRY INDUSTRY
The senator was upbeat when told Bohol is being groomed to become a dairy capital of the Philippines.
However, she challenged the officials of the government related to the dairy industry to improve the milk production in the country.
He said the farmers should produce more for domestic consumption for the needs of the children.
Bohol has been eyed to become the “Dairy Capital of the Philippines” with various programs initiated by the DA with the help of the provincial government to boost the dairy product production among farmers here.
Agriculture Sec. Manny F. Piñol and Gov. Edgar M. Chatto led the country’s biggest Dairy Program Consultation last January at the Philippine Carabao Center Conference Hall in Lomangog, Ubay in a bid to develop the province as a dairy production powerhouse.
Piñol and Pres. Rodrigo Duterte chose Bohol to be the “Dairy Capital of the Philippines” because Boholanos are a good and industrious people.
To make Bohol the “Dairy Capital of the Philippines” would initially put in 5,000 cow heads called the Girolando Breed, currently the fastest milk producers in the world capable of producing 109 liters of milk per day.
The DA is aiming to increase the country’s current milk production of 1.8 percent to 10 percent in 2022.
Piñol said he is dedicating his life to the President and the Filipino people and his department is slated to put in more funds for dairy capital, research and development, specifically here in Bohol.
Leading dairy manufacturer, Nestlé Philippines to put up facilities here, buy our milk produce and package it here, all in one setting.
For existing cooperatives in the province, Piñol committed to give 240 cow heads to each organization and to help modernize their dairy operations.
Starting next year, the Philippines will start importing goats from the United States.
Piñol said Israel is the No. 1 milk-producing country in the world and it has already invested 40,000 heads of the Girolando breed in Vietnam.
In Uruguay, embryo transplant for cows is already available.
Inspired by the relevant scientific information, the DA will put up research facilities here, thus making Bohol “the science and dairy capital of the Philippines.”
NOT SOLVED ON IMPORTING CATTLE
Villar slammed the plan of the government to import cattle from other countries, saying it could be a waste of resources in the event the imported cattle will not adjust well with the humid, tropical weather of the country.
The lady senator said she would rather have carabaos dispersed instead of imported cattle to dairy farmers.
A Tribune source said the lady senator may have a point. The government should put due diligence first before priming up to import a number of cattle from abroad.
The same source said the government should take into consideration the climate, instead of buying a number, invest first on a single piece of cattle first and observe.
There is also a need to train agricultural technicians, and even veterinarians on how to handle the imported cattle and to maintain their health. (DSA)