A LEGISLATOR said on Tuesday that the National Dairy Authority (NDA) has left the Philippines heavily reliant on dairy imports, with no corresponding moves to strengthen domestic production.
“Here you have a program that’s supposed to benefit the dairy industry, but it’s not implemented in the end,” Quezon Rep. David C. Suarez told the House Appropriations committee during deliberations on the proposed P5.768-trillion 2024 national budget.
NDA Administrator Gabriel L. Lagamayo had estimated domestic dairy output to account for only 1% of demand.
When asked how domestic output has changed in 2022, Mr. Lagamayo said: “(It’s) almost the same.”
Mr. Suarez noted that dairy farmers in Sariaya, Quezon were promised animal housing and forage assistance.
“During your site visit, you suddenly mentioned that (the farmers) don’t have enough land (for such aid),” he said.
Mr. Lagamayo said the NDA program requires beneficiaries to contribute some of their own resources to be eligible.
“Animal housing has always been the counterpart (contribution) of the beneficiaries,” Mr. Lagamayo said. “We provide the planting materials including the training. The counterpart contribution of beneficiaries would be the cowshed.”
In next year’s proposed budget for next year, the dairy industry development program has been allocated P218.03 million.
Mr. Lagamayo said that the agency is targeting milk production growth of five times over the next three to five years.
“Investing in cutting-edge technology and modernizing our farming practices can enhance the productivity and resilience of our agricultural systems,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman and Ako Bicol Rep. Elizaldy S. Co told the panel. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz