Cheaper international dairy products would encourage traders to import more milk this year, with shipments seen reaching 2.7 million metric tons (MMT) liquid milk equivalent, 8 percent higher than last year’s 2.5 MMT.
This was according to a Global Agricultural Information Network (Gain) report prepared by the United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service in Manila. The report noted that milk traders would “take advantage of low global dairy prices” this year, driving total import volume to increase by 200,000 metric tons (MT).
“Dairy products are currently the country’s third-largest agricultural import after wheat and soybean meal,” the report read.
The Gain report projected that the country’s total milk imports next year would remain flat at 2.7 MMT.
“Dairy imports in 2019 are forecast to remain at about the same level as prices begin to improve,” it said.
In terms of production, the Gain report expects local milk output to go up by 5.44 percent and by 4.17 percent this year and next year, respectively.
“Local milk production is projected to reach 24,000 MT in 2018 and will likely hit 25,000 MT in 2019 due to increasing consumer preference for fresh milk and growing local dairying capabilities,” the report read.
“Around 63 percent of total milk produced is cow’s milk while the rest is carabao milk [34 percent] and goat milk [3 percent],” it added.
The Philippines virtually imports all of its milk supply as local output only accounts for less than a percent of the total annual requirement.
“The average Philippine milk production per animal [8 liters/day] remains low mainly due to poor feed and management practices, as well as high production costs and a lack of adequate dairy infrastructure,” the report read.
“According to various sources, the average daily milk yield in the United States is around 30 liters/day and about 20 liters/day in the United Kingdom,” it added.
The country’s expanding economy would drive and sustain the Filipinos’ increasing consumption of milk and dairy products, according to the report. The Gain report noted that the country’s annual per-capita milk consumption is estimated at 22 kilograms, compared with Thailand’s 26 kg, Malaysia’s 52 kg and the 287 kg of the US.
“With a strong economy, an expanding middle class and a growing population of roughly 104 million in 2017, the Philippines is a large and rapidly expanding market for milk and dairy products,” it said.
“Other factors contributing to the long-term trend of strong growth in dairy consumption are expanding cold chain capacity, an increasing number of supermarkets and a blossoming food-processing industry,” it added.