THE National Dairy Authority (NDA) hopes to launch a P1.56-billion project to promote the dairy goat industry, helping boost overall milk production.

In a statement, the agency said the United States Department of Agriculture will help fund the dairy goat farming project, targeted at farmers in 69 provinces.

“With the budget of P1.56 billion, the project will focus on providing access to dairy goats, infrastructure, technology, and other inputs to increase goat milk production volumes,” NDA said in a statement.

Data from NDA showed that in 2017, the goat herd was about 13,975 head. Dairy cattle accounted for 64% of milk production over the past five years, with carabaos providing 33% and goats 3%.

Goats have the potential to rapidly grow milk output because they are easy to manage and goat milk production requires less investment.

“Some 750 farmers as direct beneficiaries (will be provided) 10 goats each and some 1,150 second-line beneficiaries (will receive) offspring of original goats procured. Other beneficiaries (will serve as) goat raisers/fatteners, feed producers, milk processors and milk product retailers,” it explained.

By the end of the program, the procurement and distribution target is 7,875 dairy goats; the establishment of 75 dairy goat farms with shared facilities and equipment that will serve as breeding centers; the established of 10 mini milk processing plants and six semen collection and processing centers; the training of 750 farmer recipients of dairy goats and 75 project trainers; output of 1.2 million liters of goat’s milk to supply milk feeding programs; and an increase in the dairy goat herd by 19,125 head.

“Previous development efforts by the government were focused on large ruminants because of their high milk yields (compared with) goats. With the potential of dairy goat farming, the government through the NDA aims to give more attention and support to its development,” NDA said.

Other program details will be presented at the formal launch on Aug. 28. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang