The Philippines can emerge as a dairy country with its abundant rainfall that can adequately grow pastures.
While there is a perception that the country cannot have its own flourishing dairy industry, an Oman-trained dairy animal scientist who co-owns the Happy Cows at Tropical Dairy Farm (HCTDF) strongly contests this.
“They say we canâ€™t have dairy. But I say itâ€™s more appropriate here because we always have rainfall, so we can grow grass anywhere for pasture throughout the year. My dream is to see that the Philippines will have the best dairy in Asia,” said Benjamin Molina who co-owns HCTDF in an interview at a farm tour.
The country even has a climate that may be more auspicious for dairying than in Oman where climate can be hotter and dryer. Molina, who holds a masterâ€™s degree on Animal Science from Australia, was a dairy technical specialist in Oman for 15 years.
Two other assets of the country in dairy are its numerous vacant areas and its many dairy technical experts.
Together with the National Dairy Authority (NDA), Molina has put up a dairy breeder farm in Calauan, Laguna. About 50 animals are already in the farm and 50 more will be put in by NDA. NDA is also extending technical assistance to the breeder farm.
Molinaâ€™s share in the business are the facilities for the animals and the milking equipment imported from New Zealand.
The HCTDF will be the Philippinesâ€™ first dairy breeder farm which will become the source of future calves for dairying.
“If we have the base stock, in two to three years time, we can be sufficient. We donâ€™t need to import the animals,” he said.
Rene de Guzman, planning chief, such breeder farm will make the domestic dairy industry independent from any more government assistance.
“Ten more of this farm placed all over the country, and the private sector wonâ€™t need NDA anymore,” he said.
HCTDFâ€™s aim is to keep cost of pregnant heifers down. While pregnant heifers are sold in the market at P90,000 each, the farm can supply it to farmers at only P50,000. Production cost is only between P30,000 to P35,000 per head.
Achieving a low production cost is not impossible if grazing lands are developed. Cost of feeding animals from a pasture is at a very cheap P2 per animal per day compared to P300 per day for other types of feeds. The country, Molina said has numerous indigenous grasses for grazing while many trees like kakwate, malunggay, and ipil-ipil have rich nutrients good for animal food supplement.
By December this year, the HCTDF will have 100 milking cows that yield 1,000 liters per day. The farm can sell this milk at P17 to P23 per liter, but it will rather process the milk for value-adding in order to raise selling price to P50 per liter (bringing revenue of P50,000 daily). Additional cost for processing is at a reasonable P15 per liter.
“If you have the volume, you donâ€™t have to offer your milk. The market will come to you,” he said.
As expected, the breeder farm will also have 100 calves by the end of the year.
13th Dioscoro L. Umali Memorial Lecture Series
PA 2020: Pasture and Ruminants Industry Cluster
Draft Strategic Plan Presentation
04 July 2007, 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, Traders Hotel, Manila
For more information, contact:
Dept. of Science and Technology
Rm. 303 DOST Bldg., DOST Complex,
Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig City 1631
Telephone Nos: (632) 837-20-71 to 82
Fax: (632) 837-8937