DA chief urges dairy farmers to organize

DAIRY farmers in the country, including Negros Occidental, have to organize and consolidate their efforts so that the government could easily support and provide them necessary interventions.

This was underscored by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol during the 20th Dairy Congress and Expo in Mambajao, Camiguin on Wednesday, May 3.

He said the country could hardly supply five percent of its milk and dairy requirement thus, 95 percent of the products consumed by Filipinos is imported.

Speaking before about 300 participants, Piñol said the Department of Agriculture (DA) as well as its attached agencies like the Philippine Carabao Center and National Dairy Authority will never be involved in corruption.

“The agency’s dairy program has been marked by corruption-tainted transactions in the past like the overpriced dairy animals and genetically inferior animals brought into the country,” he added.

Among the assistance and support which could be extended by the government include the creation of a national registry program to establish the genetic lineage of all dairy animals, including cattle, goats and carabaos.

The agency could also support the establishment of municipal multiplier farms and learning centers in the different parts of the country and provide financial assistance for feed mills, the DA chief said.

“After this congress, I will invite the key stakeholders in the dairy industry to a consultative forum to formulate a 10-year Philippine Dairy Industry Development Road Map,” Piñol said, adding that “it is tragic that until today, no such industry blueprint has been designed, formulated, and implemented.”

In Negros Occidental, Provincial Veterinarian Renante Decena yesterday said that as early as 2002, the province already has a federation of dairy cooperatives.

Decena said consolidation of techniques, supplies, marketing and capability is necessary, but leadership is still much to be desired.

“The cultural practices and politics plus the banking system are the problem of backyard associations or cooperatives thus, farmer-organizations must have a strong and dedicated leader,” he added.
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