Lady solon wants to limit importation of breedable heifers

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A lady legislator wants to limit the importation of pregnant and breedable heifers, or young cows, by the National Dairy Authority to protect the local breeders and the local dairy industry.

Rep. Kimi Cojuangco (5th District, Pangasinan) filed House Bill 6712, which aims to amend Republic Act 7884, otherwise known as the “National Dairy Development Act of 1995,” by inserting Section 17-A.

The bill lowers the importation of pregnant and breedable heifers to a maximum of 10 percent of the total annual procurement by the government.

Cojuangco said the bill also wants the purchase price for the imported pregnant and breedable heifers established by the authority through public bidding to serve as the guiding price for any subsequent procurement of locally produced cattle or equivalent quality.

Under the bill, “locally produced cattle of equivalent quality” refers to pregnant and breedable heifers, which are descendants of breeders and/or stocks that have a minimum dairy lineage component of 50 percent up to a maximum of 75 percent and with a minimum weight of 180 kilograms attained in a maximum time frame of 18 months after calving.

Citing the statistical data provided by the Bureau of Agriculture, Cojuangco said despite the joint efforts of the government and agricultural sector, dairy animals, which are the source of milk and other dairy products, produce less than one percent of the total annual milk and dairy products requirement.

To fill up the domestic shortage on milk and other dairy products, the government opted to import dairy animals like the heifers from other countries, Cojuangco said.

Based on the data, the NDA imports dairy animals from New Zealand through public bidding each year.

For the year 2012-2013, the NDA will import 4,000 heads of dairy animals comprising of pregnant and breedable heifers.  These dairy animals are to be distributed to cooperatives as well as farmers who breed or cross breed imported heifers with local dairy animals.

However, Cojuangco noted the big discrepancy between the price of imported pregnant and breedable heifers and that of the locally bred cattle of the same quality to the prejudice of the local farmers.

“This is the reason why some local farmers are discouraged to breed dairy animals –because they fail to get a fair return on their investments.” Cojuangco said.

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