Goat Farm Targets Big RP Milk Market
“The Philippines is importing 99 percent of its milk requirements as it produces only one percent of the total.”
Thus said owner Rene Almeda of the Alaminos Goat Farm (AGF) to illustrate the magnitude of the local market that his dairy products and those of other goat milk producers can supply.
AGF, according to Almeda, is stepping up its marketing offensive by showcasing an extended line of dairy products at the forthcoming Agrilink, Foodlink and Aqualink 2009, which is slated at the World Trade Center Metro Manila on October 8 to 10.
AGF is the maker of Milk Star, the pioneering fresh goat’s milk brand to be commercially produced and distributed at SM and Robinson’s supermarkets across Metro Manila.
“Milk Star was the darling of the visitors in Agrilink last year. But for this year’s show, AGF will feature, not only pasteurized milk, but also ice cream, leche flan, barquillos and cheese, all made from goat’s milk,” Almeda pointed out.
The market for fresh goat’s milk continues to expand as consumers learn more about its health benefits, including ease of digestibility and low cholesterol.
“As awareness grows about the availability of goat’s milk in the supermarkets, a lot of doctors are starting to prescribe it as an alternative medicine for their patients suffering from cancer, lactose intolerance and constipation,” Almeda stressed.
The AGF started out in 1993 when Almeda was asked by his son Art to embark on a goat project on their 16-hectare property, where they used to fatten feedlot cattle from Australia. Soon Almeda’s younger son Toti joined the business and handled marketing.
But it was after importing 100 purebred Saanen goats in May 2007 that the Almedas officially ventured into the dairy business. “It was a challenge to prove that one can milk Saanen dairy goats profitably in a tropical country like the Philippines,” Almeda said.
In the past, the government had imported a sizeable number of Saanen goats under the PL 480 program of the United States, but nothing significant came out of it.
Almeda observed that the Saanens adapted faster to the country’s hot, humid and wet weather than the Boers from Australia. “They (Saanens) love the fresh forage grass and legumes in Alaminos, Laguna,” he said.
By November 2007, they were milking their first Saanen and subsequently marketing the Milk Star fresh pasteurized goat’s milk.
As one of the country’s finest goat farms, the AGF has a herd of about 300 Saanens and some 600 Boers and Anglo Nubians.
“What’s good about Saanen goats is that they can produce at least two liters of milk a day for up to 300 days after giving birth. The Anglo Nubian, on the other hand, is considered a dual breed (good for meat and milk) such that it cannot produce milk for the same span of time. Nonetheless, the Anglo Nubian can give birth three times in two years, hence it can produce more kids than the Saanen,” Almeda explained.
“AGF will also showcase its prime cuts of goat meat based on industry standards. The soft launch of ‘GOAT MEAT: The World’s Most Friendly Red Meat’ will be held at Agrilink 2009,” Almeda announced.