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French participation sought in setting up proposed Bohol dairy, cheese facility

THE National Dairy Authority (NDA) said that it is hoping to seal a partnership with the French government to put up a dairy and cheese facility.

“We have a project ongoing still under consideration between a French company and the Philippine government,” NDA OIC Administrator Galvino Alfredo C.  Benitez said on the sidelines of a forum Thursday.

“They are planning put up a dairy farm and we can accommodate them in Bohol,” he added.

Mr. Benitez said that the partnership would be conducted through a French private firm, which is now conducting feasibility studies.

“We should be finishing it this year. So probably there will be an implementation that will be starting by next year for both the dairy farm and as well as the cheese facility,” he added.

He added that the French firm is also willing to conduct technology transfer and provide dairy cattle.

“The cheese facility is a new idea, and they are also pushing for it… it is still being written up for funding,” he said.

The Philippines imports about 99% of its dairy requirement.

In 2023, dairy production amounted to 17,850 metric tons (MT), or about 0.8% of milk consumption of 1.94 million MT. The milk cow herd was 75,798 head.

Mr. Benitez said that the NDA is forecasting an “incremental increase” in dairy production during the year.

The government is aiming to increase dairy production to 80 million liters of milk per year by 2028.

“Increasing domestic milk production is seen as a strategy to promote food security, help solve malnutrition and increase the income of farmers in the dairy sector,” he said.

He added that the NDA is hoping to persuade coconut farmers to try dairy production with funding from the coconut levy fund. 

Republic Act No. 11524, or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act, placed coconut levy assets into a trust fund aimed at rehabilitating and modernizing the industry.

“Instead of giving it back to the coconut farmers in cash, it will be through services. (One possibility is) dairy. So, we’re encouraging coconut farmers to enter dairy,” he said. — Adrian H. Halili