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PIA Press Release

P23M granted to Negros Oriental to boost dairy project

Dumaguete City (7 August) -- More than P23 million has been granted to Negros Oriental for its dairy zone development project under the Food For Progress Program of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The amount includes the supply of 150 imported dairy cattle from New Zealand which arrived in Dumaguete last July 12, 2008 after undergoing one month quarantine period at Del Monte, Philippines Stockyard.

These four-month pregnant high breed cattle are intended for the 57 qualified farmer-beneficiaries from the towns of Bacong, Valencia, Sibulan, and Dumaguete City.

The identified farmers will be oriented by the teams from National Dairy Authority (NDA), Land O' Lakes (LOL) of USDA and Provincial Veterinarian Office (PVO) on its loan obligations and conditions by returning back the two cattle to NDA and LOL within 7 years for every cattle received.

However, Dr. Mutia said, in order to qualify for the commodity loan, the prospective farmer-beneficiary must have a hectare of Napier and legume combination forage area, cow shed, a good source of potable water.

A series of trainings and cross visit to actual dairy farms in Cebu to witness the feeding management, milking process and collection and its hygiene and sanitation, Mutia explained.

According to Provincial Veterinarian Antonio Mutia the project aims to enhance the dairy production initiatives of the provincial government by increasing the dairy herd of the province. This also provide livelihood opportunities of the farmers through production and sale of milk and dairy offspring, make available affordable milk and decrease malnutrition problem through feeding program, Mutia added.

With the total loan assistance funded by USDA, the provincial government of Negros Oriental counterparted some P1.06million to defray the shipment cost of the cattle from Del Monte, Bukidnon.

The United States will also provide a P1.9- billion grant to the Philippines to support the Arroyo administration's "investing in people and capacity-building" program, and help sustain the country's economic growth.

Inclusive of the government's counterpart fund of P600 million, the total amount would reach P2.645 billion, Press Secretary Jesus G. Dureza said.

He said the President wants the bulk of the grant to be mobilized for capacity-building on reforestation and environmental programs as a whole.

Part of the grant would also support the country's infrastructure, energy modernization and health projects, including water supply and sanitation, he added.

Dureza said the President is also pushing for the inclusion of farm-to-market roads in the funding program in support of the country's food security program. (PIA) [top]

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