UNKNOWN to many, fresh milk mixed with popular drinks in top coffee shops and establishments in Cebu come from 700 farmers in the mountain barangays in the province.
These farmers are members of the Cebu Federation of Dairy Cooperatives (CEFEDCO) that maintains a processing plant in Barangay Pitogo, Consolacion for more than two decades now.
From their usual production of 620 liters daily, the cooperative has increased this to 1,300 liters, alongside the growing demand for fresh milk from its clients, which include Bo’s Coffee, Seattle’s Best, McDonalds, and Radisson Blu, among other Cebu-based establishments.
“Taas gyud kaayo ang demand sa fresh milk. Usahay makuwangan pa gani mi (There is a very high demand for fresh milk. Sometimes we can’t meet it),” said CEFEDCO president Joseph B. Durado. The cooperative sources its cows from the National Dairy Authority (NDA) through a loan agreement.
To support its operations, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 turned over P3.38 million worth of equipment including homogenizer, plate heat exchanger, cream separator, ice bank and secondary storage to CEFEDCO yesterday.
DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte said the assistance under the agency’s Shared Service Facility (SSF) program will help more farmers earn better as production increases and becomes more efficient. This is also seen to support Cebu’ dairy industry.
CEFEDCO farmers, who belong to 22 associate member dairy cooperatives, are from the mountain barangays in the towns of Barili, Argao, Dalaguete, and Naga in the south of Cebu, and Consolacion, Liloan, Compostela, Danao City, Borbon, and Medellin in the north.
Bearing the Cebu Dairy Fresh brand, CEFEDCO also distributes fresh milk, both full cream and low fat, to Robinsons Fuente and Robinsons Banilad Town Center, as well as Metro Ayala in Cebu City.
Durado said they sell their fresh milk at P85 per liter, slightly higher than the commercial brands. The coop president boasts of a “zero preservative” milk, which means a healthy option for consumers.
Aside from fresh milk, the cooperative also processes cheese, butter, yogurt and chocolate drinks.
CEFEDCO earns approximately P100,000 daily, and this is expected to increase as volume and demand expands.
CEFEDCO was first established in 1991 under the name Liloan-Consolacion Farmers Association (Licon). Now, as CEFEDCO, it has more than 2,000 cows scattered all over Cebu.