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by Secretary Emmanuel “Manny” F. Piñol
Chairman, MinDA

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will forge a Memorandum of Agreement with the town of President Roxas, North Cotabato for the conduct of a study to determine the level of malnutrition in many of its upland villages.

It is also intended to create a local market for the town's nascent Carabao Dairy Industry.

The partnership was sealed yesterday with Pres. Roxas Mayor Jonathan Mahimpit when I attended the launching of the Philippine Carabao Center Dairy Hub in Barangay Labuo, Pres. Roxas.

The Dairy Hub, which will be operated by the Sta. Catalina Multi-Purpose Cooperative based in Pres. Roxas town, has an initial 50 heads of milking Buffalo.

PCC Provincial Head Benjie Basilio said only a few heads are milking while the rest are all pregnant and expected to be productive starting end of this year.

During the launching ceremonies, I emphasized the major problem faced by the local dairy industry which is the access to the market dominated by established multi-national dairy corporations.

Even dairy cooperatives in Mindanao had been confined to the marginal markets limiting their growth potentials.

I cited the success stories of Thailand and India, countries which created a market for their local dairy production by initiating a government sponsored milk feeding program in villages with very high malnutrition rates.

In the proposed MOA between MinDA and President Roxas town, a survey of the villages to determine the extent of malnutrition among children, especially among the Indigenous People, will be funded and conducted by MinDA.

Based on the results of the survey, MinDA will assist Pres. Roxas in establishing a digital database on village malnutrition and choose at least three with the highest levels as beneficiaries of the milk feeding program for children in the day-care centers and in the elementary schools.

MinDA will collaborate with the Philippine Carabao Center, Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development, National Nutrition Council, Department of Health and Department of Interior and Local Government along with the Provincial Government of North Cotabato in the implementation of the Milk Feeding Program.

MinDA hopes that by initiating the Milk Feeding Program in Pres. Roxas, the high level of malnutrition in the mountain villages would be addressed and at the same time, create a ready market for the milk produced by the PCC-Sta. Catalina Dairy Hub.

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