Experts Highlight the Benefits of Milk at World Milk Day Forum

Public and private sector came together to highlight the role of milk in providing good nutrition, promoting food security and supporting livelihoods in an engaging forum hosted by Alaska Milk Corporation (AMC) in celebration of the World Milk Day.

Held in Makati, the forum, which centered on the theme “Celebrating the Goodness of Dairy,” featured key officials from the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Education (DepEd), the National Dairy Authority (NDA), and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) who shared their views on the the power of milk and the goodness of dairy. 

(Left to Right Asec. Benjamin Albarece, Assistant Secretary for Ruminant Livestock, Department of Agriculture, Prof. Liezel Atienza, Institute of Human Nutrition and Food, University of the Philippines Los Baños(UPLB), Dr. Menandro M. Loresco, University of the Philippines Los Baños –  Dairy Training and Research Institute (UPLB-DTRI), Ms. Magdalene Cariaga, Bureau of Learner Support , Services, Registered Nutritionist, Department of Education (DepEd), Ms. Estela Grace Estacio, Marketing Director, Alaska Milk Corporation (AMC) and Jing Castañeda, Host)

As of 2023, the Philippines produced approximately 18,000 metric tons of milk, accounting for about 0.8% of the country’s total milk consumption of 1.937 million metric tons. Increasing local milk production is seen as a strategy to promote food security, help solve malnutrition and increase the income of farmers in the dairy sector,” shared NDA OIC Administrator Atty. Gavino Alfredo Benitez, during his keynote speech. 

Through meaningful collaboration with various sectors, we see a clear path towards accelerating the development of the Philippine dairy industry,” added DA Assistant Secretary Benjamin Albarece.

Milk and dairy products help diversify the diet and can benefit both nutritionally vulnerable people and healthy people when consumed in appropriate amounts.

Milk is a nutrient-dense beverage. One glass of milk provides the calcium, protein, potassium, and vitamins equivalent to several other foodsAlternatives to dairy milk are still not as nutritious, especially for certain dietary needs,” Professor Liezel Atienza, Director of the Institute of Human Nutrition and Food at the University of the Philippines Los Baños emphasized.

Undernutrition remains a serious problem among Filipino children aged 5 to 10, with approximately 2.7 million children being too short for their age, potentially affecting their cognitive and physical development. 

Milk has been scientifically proven to boost students’ cognitive abilities and academic performance. A well-nourished mind and body is a determinant of academic success,” said Ms. Magdalene Carriaga, School-based Feeding Program Focal Person of DepEd. 

Private sector, particularly milk brands, have a role to play in promoting milk consumption as part of a balanced and healthy diet. 

“As milk brands, we play a pivotal role in advocating for milk consumption as part of a balanced and healthy diet,” said Star Estacio, Marketing Director of AMC. “By educating consumers about the comprehensive nutritional benefits of milk and ensuring access to high-quality yet affordable dairy products, we can contribute significantly to fostering healthier communities. Our commitment extends beyond merely providing products; it’s about making a meaningful impact and enhancing the overall well-being of families,” she added. 

The panelists agreed that a whole-of-society approach is necessary to improve both the development of the dairy industry and the consumption of milk by Filipinos.

As the operating company of FrieslandCampina in the Philippines, AMC remains steadfast in its commitment to delivering affordable nutrition to Filipinos, which it has been doing so for more than 50 years, and in celebrating the goodness of dairy through its high quality milk products. 

Milk is white gold,” shared AMC Managing Director Tarang Gupta. “Dairy creates an impact from end-to-end in any community, whether you are in the farms raising cows or at home preparing a nutritious meal,” he said.

World Milk Day, established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 2001, recognizes milk’s significance as a global food and celebrates the dairy sector’s contributions to people’s livelihoods.