September 22, 2023
Philippines to establish milk retort facilities to boost government's milk feeding programme
The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) plans to set up milk retort facilities in Bohol and Zamboanga del Sur to meet 100% of the government's milk feeding programme demand and enhance dairy farmers' income, The Freeman reported.
This project is part of a larger strategy aimed at fulfilling the entirety of the government's milk feeding programme and bolstering the revenue generated by dairy farmers, which has already reached an impressive PHP 2 billion (~US$35 million; PHP 10 = US$0.18).
Deogracias Victor B Savellano, the Undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA), said there is a need to bridge the 13% gap in milk supply for the programme.
Joel Cabading, PCC milk program coordinator, revealed that a complete retort facility setup costs PHP 35 million (~US$615,000) and is funded under the US government's Public Law 480 (Agricultural Trade Development & Assistance and Act).
The establishment of these retort facilities holds multiple benefits, ensuring both nutrition and food safety for Filipino children and creating more livelihood opportunities for dairy farmers in Visayas and Mindanao.
In addition to the milk retort facilities, the DA-attached PCC will establish milk laboratories in 12 regional centres. This move will make milk testing centres for food safety more accessible to dairy farmers in remote areas, with Senator Cynthia Villar backing the funding for this project.
Dr Caro Salces, PCC officer-in-charge executive director, said that traditional logistical methods for milk delivery have resulted in delays and supply shortages in rural schools. The retort facilities will significantly bolster PCC's delivery capabilities.
The technology behind retort processing extends the shelf life of milk while preserving its nutritional content through heat processing and airtight packaging.
Since 2019, the government's milk-feeding program has benefited 4.2 million children and significantly boosted the income of 53 PCC-assisted cooperatives, generating a combined revenue of PHP 2 billion (~US$35 million).
PCC already operates retort facilities in Isabela, Science City of Munoz, Batangas, and Sorsogon.
In 2024, 50% of the milk supply for the program will be provided by PCC's assisted dairy cooperatives, with the remaining half supplied by cooperatives assisted by the National Dairy Authority (NDA).
PCC is further enhancing the productivity of carabao smallholder farms through the National Dairy Herd Improvement System (NDHIS). Supported by the Korea International Cooperation Agency, NDHIS will improve milk production by increasing the number of dairy animals, ensuring sufficient animal feeding, building up dairy herds through a cooperative conduit scheme, and conducting artificial insemination to enhance the reproduction of superior dairy animals.
Carabao dairy farmers in the Philippines who receive PCC assistance have seen a significant increase in income. In 2022, the average farmer's income rose by 20% to PHP 113,285 (~US$1,993). For 2024, an additional 20% income increase is projected, reaching PHP 135,941 (~US$2,390). This is expected to further improve to PHP 163,130 (~US$2,870) in the following year, marking a 20% growth.
Total milk sales from Carabao-based Enterprise Development (CBED) of PCC reached PHP 792,819 million (~US$13.9 million) in 2022 for 4.548 million litres of traded milk. By the end of 2023, this is expected to increase to PHP 911.742 million (~US$16 million) for 5.230 million litres. Further growth is projected for 2024 and 2025, with milk sales reaching PHP 1.048 billion (~US$18.4 million) for 6.014 million litres and PHP 1.205 billion (~US$21.2 million) for 6.917 million litres, respectively.
- The Freeman