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Villar dismayed at local dairy production figures: Ba’t galing sa banyagang baka ang gatas?

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Senator Cynthia Villar on Monday deplored the apparent failure of the National Dairy Authority (NDA) to raise the country’s dairy production which remains at 1% despite for the past 23 years.

She learned that the Philippines is 99% dependent on milk importation prompting her to urge concerned agriculture officials to help “backyard dairy farmers” improve their ability to meet the country’s dairy requirement.

Asked how will the Department of Agriculture and NDA address the problem, Villar said, “Ang sinasabi ko tulungan n’yo ‘yong mga backyard dairy farmers.”

“Kasi ‘di lang naman baka ang nag-pro produce ng milk. We can produce milk out of carabao and goat,” said Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food.

She conducted yesterday an inquiry on the current state of the NDA and the effectiveness and efficacy of its policies on the development of the dairy industry in the country.

“Sinasabi nila na mahirap daw mag import ng baka, may problema. Kaya sabi ko carabao and goat because they are produced here,” Villar said.

“We can get them here. It can be carabao or goat or combination of the three,” the senator said in an interview after the public hearing.

The NDA, attached to the Department of Agriculture (DA), was created through the National Dairy Development Act of 1995 or Republic Act No. 7884.

It is mandated to ensure the accelerated development of the Philippine dairy industry through policy direction and program implementation.

“It has been 23 years since this agency was created. The government has literally poured in billions of pesos for the purpose of creating a thriving dairy sector to increase milk production in the Philippines,” she said.

“Yet, after more than two decades of its operations, the national dairy authority has yet to make a dent on the level of importation of milk by the country,” the senator said.

Villar added, “We continue to import over 99% of our milk requirements which has ranged between $700 to $876 million in the past five years alone.”