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by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol
Chairman, Mindanao Development Authority

Davao City - The Mindanao Development Authority program to transform Mindanao into a major beef production area for the country received a big boost yesterday with the commitment of support from the Australian government.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson, in a meeting with officials of MinDA yesterday, lauded the Mindanao Livestock Development Progam which aims to establish cattle fattening facilities in the different provinces of the region.

He said a large-scale cattle fattening program which would include processing and packaging would have cascading benefits on the silage and feeds production industry of Mindanao.

Ambassador Robinson said Australia could provide technical assistance in the establishment of modern abattoirs and tanneries.

The Cattle Production component of the Mindanao Livestock Development Program involves the fattening of locally procured Cattle in feedlots to be operated by local government units as Economic Enterprise Projects.

The Program also aims to import from Australia's Northern Territory culled cows and steers which will be fattened in feedlots using silage and feeds produced by local farmers and slaughtered in abattoirs to be established strategic areas of Mindanao.

The long-term program involves the establishment of breeder farms and the upgrading of the local cattle population through Artificial Insemination and Embryo Transfer.

The fattening protocol will be introduced by outstanding OFW Arnel Corpuz, MinDA's livestock program consultant who spent 11 years in Australia's Wagyu Feedlots.

The program will be tied to the Sorghum and Corn Industry Development Program pushed by MinDA.

The Development Bank of the Philippines, MinDA's financing partner, will be tapped to support the LGUs' funding requirements for the project.

During the engagement yesterday, Ambassador Robinson and the MinDA Chairman agreed to craft the terms of engagement between MinDA and the government of the Northern Territory of Australia where most of the cows and the steers are expected to come from.

MinDA sought the support of the Australia government in ensuring a sustained supply of cattle for fattening and also technical assistance in the establishment of modern abattoirs and tanneries to create a new industry in Mindanao, leather making.

The program is expected to be launched before June this year, in time for the onset of the winter season in Australia when ranchers are expected to sell their culled cows and steers.

The MinDA Livestock Development Program aims to boost food production in Mindanao to achieve food self-sufficiency and also contribute to the supply of meat for the rest of the country.

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