By Madelaine B. Miraflor
With the country’s demand for dairy products slightly growing, the Department of Agriculture (DA) thought it made sense to allot portion of the World Bank-backed Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) funds to two groups of milk and dairy producers in Mindanao.
A statement showed that Northern Mindanao Federation of Dairy Cooperatives (NMFDC) and Unified Engineering Workers Multipurpose Cooperative (UEWMPC) will get a combined amount of P69 million to bankroll their respective enterprise projects in dairy milk processing.
With the growing population of the country, the demand for milk and dairy products is also rising.
Right now, the country produces less than one percent of its total annual dairy requirement and imports the rest. Data from the National Dairy Authority (NDA) showed that local milk production (from cattle, carabao, and goats) was 21,160 MT in 2016, up from 20,390 MT in 2015.
Of this, Mindanao produces around 3,000 MT of milk.
NMFDC, one of the organizations in Mindanao that will get fund allocations from PRDP, said the main problem they encounter right now is the short shelf life of milk and that they can’t make the full potential of dairy production due to the lack of proper technology.
“Our dealers hesitate to take in large volume of our products because they worry that they will not be able to sell all the products before its expiration date,” said Edwin I. Dael, NMFDC vice chairman.
NMFDC is operating a processing plant and own the brand known as Highland Fresh Dairy Products. They are the only secondary dairy producing cooperative in Northern Mindanao operating its own milk processing plant and directly marketing its finished products.
Aside from milk, they also produce yogurt, white cheese, gouda cheese and pure butter.
The federation has a total of 13 cattle dairy farmers cooperative members coming from Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro City.
The group will particularly get P22 million from PRDP for its Dairy Milk Processing and Marketing Enterprise.
This will be implemented under the Investments in Rural Enterprises and Agriculture and Fisheries Productivity (IREAP) component of PRDP, which aims to strengthen and develop viable agri-fishery based enterprises through efficient value chains of key agricultural and fishery products.
The P22-million funds from PRDP will be used in upgrading production equipment to extend their products’ shelf life of up to 30 days from the current production with shelf life of seven to nine days only. The amount will also cover transport facilities.