LEGAZPI CITY, ALBAY - Amid the looming peril that the eruption of Mayon Volcano poses, it was business as usual for planners in Albay. Assisted by Philippine Rural Development Project-Bicol (PRDP-Bicol) Planning Specialist Mary Ann Cuya, the Provincial Project Management and Implementation Unit (PPMIU)-Albay local and national level planning (I-PLAN) team updated its Provincial Commodity Investment Plan (PCIP) based on the value chain analysis for dairy cattle on January 18, 2018.

According to PPMIU-Albay I-PLAN Staff Engr. Percival de Villa, investing on the dairy cattle industry in the province aims to solve the prevalence of malnutrition among children in the region. The value chain analysis for dairy cattle shows that in 2015, 8.6 percent of children aged 5 to 10 years old in Bicol are overweight or obese, 8.4 percent are wasting, 31.1 percent are stunted while 31.2 percent are undernourished.

 “Pag may nagpo-produce dito ng milk, mas magiging affordable sya (Milk will be more affordable if we produce it here),” said de Villa.

Updating the PCIP for dairy cattle will also push economic growth as 188,282 hectares of grasslands in Bicol are suitable for dairy farming. De Villa added that since Albay is a tourist area, value-added products from dairy cattle will expand the opportunities for farmers and processors in the province in addition to pili, abaca and sweet potato products.

There are seven active dairy zones in five provinces in Bicol namely Albay, Camarines Sur, Masbate, Sorsogon and Catanduanes. These dairy zones have an average of 155 animals in the milk line that produce 234,062.67 liters of milk which is equivalent to 1.81 percent share of the country’s total production. Among the possible collaborators of the dairy cattle industry are the Albay Dairy Multi-Purpose Cooperative and Canaway Dairy Farm in Albay, the LGU Camarines Norte Dairy Plant, BFDC in Camarines Sur, the Catanduanes Dairy Nucleus Farm and Pandan Breeding Station in Catanduanes, Fazenda de Esperanza in Masbate and SDMF/RDPTC and Sorsogon City Dairy Cooperative in Sorsogon.

PPMIU-Albay is considering the National Dairy Authority’s (NDA) proposal to cluster a barn-type cut and carry dairy cattle industry in the province with assistance from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and Provincial Veterinary Service.

The PCIP aims to address the key gaps and constraints identified in the value chain analysis for dairy cattle in the province including insufficient quality and affordable breed of dairy cattle, inadequate developed pasture areas and animal mortality because of natural calamities. Integrated in the three-year rolling consensus plan is the provision of upgraded dairy cattle semen from 100% Holstein Friesian breed, establishment of nursery as source of high quality forage planting materials and construction of climate resilient animal evacuation centers.

The PCIP on dairy cattle will also support the mission of the Department of Agriculture to provide available and affordable food by producing enough to feed 105 million Filipinos, reducing production cost, and increasing the people’s earning capacity. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-PRDP RPCO V InfoACE Unit)