November 8, 2010
USDA donates 680 tonnes of dry milk in the Philippines
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has donated 680 tonnes of non-fat dry milk for a milk feeding programme for selected students in the Philippines.

As part of the government's public-private partnership, Republic Flour Mills Corp. (RFM) has processed the USDA-donated non-fat dry milk into ultra high temperature (UHT) chocolate milk, while a portion has been incorporated to produce fortified biscuits.

The National Dairy Authority assisted RFM in the production and product development of the chocolate milk and fortified biscuits.

The processed chocolate milk and fortified biscuits will be distributed to selected pupils affected by last year's strong typhoons Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) and Pepeng (Parma).

The feeding programme called Food for Progress will be officially launched on November 9 in Pasig City.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas, RFM president and chief executive officer Jose Concepcion III and Agriculture Undersecretary Berna Romulo-Puyat will formally launch the project at the Sagad Elementary School in Pasig City.

Grade one pupils were given focus by the program due to the high level of dropout rate, their vulnerability to illnesses and undernourishment. 

The programme which will supplement the pupils' daily dietary needs will run from Nov. 2010 to Jan. 2011 and will cover 81,718 Grade one students from 265 public elementary schools in Regions I, III, IV-A and, the National Capital Region.

Each student will be served daily with 195 ml UHT chocolate milk and fortified biscuits during the project's span.

A team will monitor the improvement of the pupils' weight and attendance.