Dairy Congress addresses milk for hungry children
Cagayan de Oro City (11 April) -- Around 314 dairy farmers, representatives of government and non-government organizations and other private investors which included 16 delegates from Mindanao, have attended the Dairy Congress and Expo 2007 held March 29-31 at the Fontana Convention Center
Dairy farmers from Luzon hosted this year’s 10th National Dairy Congress with the theme “Todo Asenso, Mag Dairy Business Tayo!” Activities and discussions on the current directions of the dairy industry ranging from trends in production and market innovations were discussed during the 3-day affair.
The gathering was a timely event, what with the country pushing for hunger mitigating measures to combat poverty and positively aim for agricultural growth. In a study done in 2003, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute showed that 12 million out 17 million Filipino children aged 2 to 10 are malnourished. Around 6.2 million (36.6%) of these children are stunted, while 4.8 million (28.3%) are underweight.
In response, the National Dairy Authority (NDA) in collaboration with foreign and local sponsors, has been pushing the Milk Feeding Program (MFP) to supplement the needs especially among the nutritionally deprived sectors of the country.
From 1995 to date, some 500,000 children from 63 provinces have been covered by the program, utilizing locally produced milk. The weight and nutritional improvement of these children has consistently been pegged at over 85%.
At the Dairy Congress, the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) entered into a milk feeding agreement amounting to P70 million that will cover 111,350 Grade 1 public school children in 1,151 schools in 23 provinces nationwide. Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, who keynoted the congress, signed the agreement with DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapuz.
The Dairy Congress 2007 was considered the perfect venue for the dairy sector stakeholders to share and learn the best practices in the industry as well as providing direction for its future.
For next year, the Northern Mindanao Federation of Dairy Cooperatives (NMFDC) has been selected to host the 11th Dairy Congress in Cagayan de Oro City. (NDA-10) [top]