Milk imports drop as demand falls

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    The Philippines will import less dairy this year due to the pandemic-induced economic slowdown. according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    USDA said volume of dairy imports will likely drop by almost six percent to 2.8 million metric tons (MT) this year from 2019’s 2.969 million MT.

    The Philippines relies heavily on imports as it produces less than one percent of its total annual dairy requirement.

    Skim milk powder and whole milk powder imports which comprise over 41 percent of the country’s total dairy imports will go down in volume amid a rising global dairy prices and tepid demand for dairy products.

    Liquid milk imports have slowed down as its use in food service, particularly in coffee shops has declined due to lockdown protocols.

    Despite the duty-free advantage of suppliers from New Zealand and Australia, imports of butter and other dairy spreads as well as cheese, are also seen to decline.

    The USDA said the local food manufacturing sector will recover next year but at a cautious pace especially that the local coffee shop industry is projected to sustain growth of 10 to 15 percent over the next five years.

    The report said the annual per capita milk consumption in the Philippines is estimated at 22 kilograms with the greater Manila area as the major fresh milk market in the country.

    Local milk production is projected to reach 26,000 MT this year and may hit 26,500 MT in 2021 due to growing local dairying capabilities and the implementation of new dairy development projects of the government. – Jed Macapagal