Sen. Cynthia Villar said the law institutionalizing a national feeding program will not only address undernourishment among children, but will also create a market for local dairy and vegetable farmers.
Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, said during the plenary discussions on Republic Act 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act, she pushed for provisions that will make sure local farmers will also benefit from the law.
“With the provision in the law requiring the sourcing of fresh milk and fresh milk-based products from local dairy farmers and cooperatives, we are creating markets, which, if sustained, will eventually develop our local dairy industry,” Villar said.
Villar also said the law she co-authored included a provision encouraging the establishment of vegetable farms which will supply the requirement for the supplemental feeding program for school children.
“This will also help vegetable farmers and backyard farmers to increase their income,” she added.
During the Farmers’ Field Day cum Technology Showcase held to celebrate the 26th anniversary of the Philippine Carabao Center in Nueva Ecija, Villar said a developed dairy industry will provide opportunities for farmers to earn more.
“A housewife I met in Ubay, Bohol, gave me an idea that raising milking carabaos is profitable. She is raising three milking carabaos and the dairy processing center buys the milk, which gives her an income of 18,000 a month,” Villar said.
The Nacionalista Party senator also said this livelihood model, which she intends to establish in addition to the almost 2,000 livelihood projects she built all over the country, will be appealing to housewives who want to earn extra without the need to go far from the family home.
“I want to establish a dairy center for every province in the country so we can provide the same opportunity to other people,” Villar said.
Villar also said the project will help develop the dairy industry, which at present produces only 1% of the demand, leaving us to import the remaining 99%.
“Once we increase our dairy production, we can already make milk affordable and accessible for our children,” she said.