July 2, 2018
The dairy sector in Central Visayas, a thriving industry in this province, is getting support from Japanese volunteers via technology transfer, breeding techniques, and product development.
The Japanese volunteers, under the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) program of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), are supporting the local farmers whose economic livelihood depends on the dairy sector.
Koki Itagaki, the JOCV helping the National Dairy Authority (NDA) Ubay Multiplier Farm, is sharing breeding techniques to help boost milk production. "Together with my counterpart organization, we hold breeding exams and introduce artificial insemination techniques so we can focus on increasing the number of milking cows," Itagaki said.
To date, only 100 liters of milk are produced daily in the NDA farm in Ubay.
Mana Sasaki, also a JOCV, is helping farmer members of the Dairy Farmers of Dumaguete Dairy Cooperative. "I'm introducing sanitation practices and conducting seminars on how dairy farmers can improve their milk production processes," Sasaki said.
To date, about 5-16% of milk produced by the cooperative members does not pass the quality tests. Hence, the volunteer is finding a way to increase the income of dairy farmers through new milk products including using rejected milk for soap making.
In Negros Oriental, Japanese volunteer Takanori Takahashi is working in tandem with the NDA Negros Oriental Field Office to also introduce breeding techniques to local farmers. A veterinary medicine graduate in Japan, Takahashi said, "I'd like to transfer breeding technology to dairy farmers in Negros Oriental and Siquijor especially in diagnosing early pregnancy in cows and eventually help increase the number of dairy animals in the area."
The JOCVs' activities complement the ongoing program of the government using a multiplier farm concept establishing breeding and dairy farms as community projects and managed by farmers.
JICA has been supporting key development sectors in the Philippines through JOCVs since the 1960s. The early Japanese volunteers in the country were dispatched to support agriculture, introducing new technology and breeding techniques to support livestock development. Some of them have partnered with Filipino experts and formed the JOCV-Philippine Animal Science Association (JOCV-PASA) in 1987.
"We'd like to continue supporting the Philippines through the JOCVs, specifically assisting sectors like dairy farming that can benefit future generations. The technical skills of our Japanese volunteers aim to help the farmers apply new knowledge and practices so they can stay in agriculture business and raise their living standards," said JICA Philippines Senior Representative Aya Kano.
To date, JICA has dispatched 1,642 volunteers to support various development fields in the Philippines.
Data from the Global Agricultural Information Network showed that the Philippines' annual milk production was at 21.16 million liters in 2016. Demand for milk is seen to rise locally with increasing preference for fresh milk. However, the country continues to import milk from New Zealand, US, and Australia markets.
The government has been working to improve the country's dairy sector through a livestock and dairy development program that aims to increase cattle population to 5 million from 2.5 million and milk production from 1 to 10 percent of national requirements.
Koki Itagaki shares breeding techniques to help boost milk production
Takanori Takahashi works with local dairy farmers in Negros Oriental to introduce breeding techniques in cows
Mana Sasaki tests the quality of milk produced by local dairy farmers