To facilitate knowledge transfer and skills development of local dairy farmers, the Department of Agriculture – National Dairy Authority (DA-NDA) and Alaska Milk Corporation (AMC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Alaska Head Office, Makati City, on November 16, 2022.
With partners from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), the MOU aims to establish the Philippine-Netherlands Dairy Excellence Center (PNDEC) in institutionalizing the Dairy Training and Development Program, which targets to increase milk production, enhance raw milk quality and safety, intensify capacity of local dairy farmers, and provide other needed support to boost the country’s dairy industry.
“With this partnership, the National Dairy Authority is honored to collaborate with a giant milk company like Alaska Milk Corporation, as you join us in this fight against malnutrition which our children will benefit; and the fight against poverty, in which our farmers will benefit,” NDA Administrator Dr. Farrell Benjelix Magtoto said in his message during the signing ceremony.
Dr. Magtoto also underscored the importance of the big brother-small brother partnership, where AMC serves as the “big brother,” who has the resources and opportunities in value creation.
“This is the realization of our big brother-small brother partnership, where you, our big brother, is here to help us turn our smallholders into productive, profitable, and sustainable dairy enterprises. That’s why the private sector is a key stakeholder and an essential actor in agricultural development,” the NDA administrator said.
For AMC’s part, Managing Director Tarang Gupta said that Alaska Milk Corporation will continue to uphold its mission in providing nutrition, good living, and innovations leading to the sustainability of the dairy industry and food security.
“The establishment of the PNDEC is a commemoration of AMC’s golden anniversary this year, and we want to help the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. to achieve food security for the Philippines. This does not only fortify Alaska Milk’s mission to bring forth nutrition to every plate and glass of Filipino families but also to strengthen the company’s lifelong commitment to bettering the lives of Filipinos,” Gupta said.
PNDEC is the first corporate-led dairy training center in the Philippines, hosted by milk giants such as the AMC. Now a subsidiary of the Royal FrieslandCampina (RFC) – a Dutch multinational dairy cooperative based in Amersfoort, Netherlands and is considered among the world’s largest dairy cooperatives with more than 18,000 dairy farmer-members in 34 countries – the training program will fully and comprehensively provide knowledge, learnings, and opportunities for Filipino dairy farmers from milk production to market growth.
President FrieslandCampina Food & Beverage Roel van Neerbos shared that “FrieslandCampina is a 50-year-old company that is made and owned by farmers, and we can’t wait to impart our years of knowledge and efficient practices and experience to the local farmers of the Philippines.”
In May 2021, AMC, NDA, and the UP-DTRI entered into national training development program contract, a 4-million worth of investment that has trained over 100 local dairy farmers on high level of milk quality, milk safety, farm productivity, and market development. This year, AMC targets to train 300 more dairy farmers and cooperatives across the country.
Joey Tapay, who owns and farms the Sta. Maria Dairy Farm in Lipa, Batangas, shared how he has benefited from the program. “With our knowledge in breeding beef cattle with our previous enterprise, we thought that it would be easy to shift to dairy farming, but we were wrong. With PNDEC, through trainings and relevant workshops, we are sure that we can achieve higher milk yield and fast track the reproduction of our good performing cows. This is a never-ending learning and the quest for dairy knowledge continues,” he said.
With the robust private-public collaboration, this project is now set to embark on the development of a five-year roadmap, as it paves the way towards a prolific and sustainable Philippine dairy industry.
“The strong support conveyed by our President who is also our Agriculture Secretary is the boost we need as he directs us to champion the dairy industry of our country. We at the NDA heed his call and we will do it with vigor and passion,” Dr. Magtoto concluded.