December 5, 2023

With the temperate climate in the highlands, dairy farming along with agriculture is seen as one of the means of livelihood for the people of the Cordillera. 
Department of Agriculture – Cordillera Executive Director Cameron Odsey said they are aggressively pushing for the development of dairy farming in the region starting with the improvement of the Baguio Animal Breeding and Research Center atBarangay Dontogan.
Odsey said with 49 heads of new stocks of dairy cows at the center of the reservation, it would be a starting point for breeding. The dairy cows, called Holstein Friesian breed, will then be distributed to identified groups in the region in the future.  
“The next generation we will disperse soon around Baguio and nearby Tuba, Benguet because the market is within these areas. The next target would be Mountain Province and Ifugao,” Odsey said.
The new breedswere acquired from Australia and arrived in the country last March and is a crossbreed with a Brazilian stock called Girolando. The dairy cows, which have already given birth to calves, has a productive life of 10 years.The cows could produce around 15 to 36 liters per day.But for now, 50 percent of the milk produced is fed to the cubs.
The towns of Bauko, Mountain Province and Itogon, Benguet have existing dairy farms with the latter as recipient of the 10 heads of older stocks from the BABRC which are the Philippine Island bred Sawihal cattle.
Sagada, Mountain Province has a group that raises dairy producing goats which they sell to tourists and the locals.
DA is now bent on making dairy cow production a viable livelihood source for the locality, as 99 percent of the country’s milk and dairy needs are imported
“If we can replace that slowly and earn money from it, then that’s an alternative livelihood. If we can make this as a household enterprise that they can sell to the government for its use in its feeding program then that will be good. And then the local tourists that comes here as well as the community,” he said.
The current pandemic has lessened the market of BABRC particularly the tourists that’s why the agency has partnered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development for DA to supply the dairy needs of its feeding program.
BABRC then turned over milk products to the social welfare and development offices of La Trinidad, Benguet and Baguio for their feeding programs as well as to the other frontliners during the promotion of highland agriculture last week.
BABRC has a total of 94 hectares of which 60 percent is forested. Around eight hectares have been given to the city government under a usufructuary agreement while around 60 hectares have been applied for a certificate of ancestral land title by an Ibaloy family. – Ofelia C. Empian