SAN MIGUEL Corp. (SMC) will distribute some 5,000 liters of excess pasteurized carabao milk to around 5,000 beneficiaries in six cities and provinces in Luzon, as part of the company’s efforts to help dairy farmers recover their financial losses.

In a statement on Tuesday, SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang said that together with the Philippine Carabao Center, the company will buy excess milk from farmers of the Nueva Ecija Federation of Dairy Carabao Cooperative.

After the purchase, they will form a joint feeding program that will distribute the milk to vulnerable children, elderly, and frontliners in Pampanga, Bulacan, Navotas, Manila, Malabon, Cavite, Quezon City, San Juan, and Mandaluyong.

“With this initiative, which the Department of Agriculture helped bring about, we are targeting to provide up to 1,000 liters of carabao milk per area. We will donate this specifically for the benefit of children and the elderly in poor communities,” Mr. Ang said.

Meanwhile, SMC has brought the technical expertise of its packaging arm, San Miguel Yamamura Packaging Corp., to the milk distribution project.

SMC said the limited farmer access to markets during the two-month quarantine period resulted in product spoilage.

In response to the spoilage problem, the packaging unit will provide research and development assistance to the Philippine Carabao Center on developing ways to extend the shelf-life of carabao milk.

“Ideally, we would like to see them be able to extend their products’ shelf life to at least three to six months,” Mr. Ang said, adding that doing so would eliminate the center’s spoilage and allow tie-ups to boost the industry.

Mr. Ang said that a possible beneficiary of the packaging research is a partnership with the Department of Education on a milk feeding program for public school children.

“With extended shelf life, the milk can also be transported and distributed throughout the country, giving carabao farmers a wider market, and even higher output and livelihood,” Mr. Ang said. — R. M. D. Ochave