PHILIPPINE dairy imports are projected at 2.49 million metric tons (MT), milk equivalent, this year due to higher demand from the food industry, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The FAO said that this year’s estimates are 7.33% higher than its 2023 projections.

“Food services sales are expected to improve in several leading dairy-importing countries, notably Mexico, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Japan,” the FAO added.

It said imports of skim milk powder (SMP) are projected to increase mainly due to higher demand from food processors and lower prices.

“More positive demand prospects are expected in the Philippines and Indonesia, especially after last year’s drops, induced by higher demand from the food processing and services sectors and relatively lower international SMP prices,” it added.

SMP exports from countries like the US, India, Argentina and the UK, are expected to increase due to the higher import demand.

Global trade in SMP is estimated at 2.7 million MT, up 0.7% from a year earlier.

The FAO added that Philippines is expected to import less butter this year.

The Philippines can meet less than 1% of its milk demand from domestic production, with the rest needing to be imported.

The government is aiming to increase dairy production to 80 million liters of milk per year by 2028.

Domestic production is projected at 30 thousand MT in 2024, unchanged from the estimates posted a year earlier. — Adrian H. Halili