Philippine Dairy Sector Gets Smart Farming Boost from Israel

The Philippines is partnering with Israel to further boost the country’s dairy sector. In a signing ceremony held recently, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar and Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss signed a joint declaration that would jumpstart technical and economic partnerships between Filipino stakeholders and Israeli agri-food industry players.

We aim to introduce smart and precision agriculture while using Israeli technology that’s adjusted to local conditions to address the local challenges. Signing the joint declaration is a strong signal that MASHAV, Israel’s agency for development cooperation, will be happy to support the Philippines through technical assistance and capacity-building programs, especially in the dairy industry.

– Ilan Fluss, Israel Ambassador to the Philippines

In its proposed 2020-2025 Dairy Road Map, Manila is seeking to increase the country’s dairy input to provide milk locally, specifically to Filipino children. That should address the pervasive malnutrition and poverty in the country.

Dar disclosed how much Israel is a model to the country in terms of smart dairy farming. Thus, the Philippine government is eager to learn from Israel’s best dairy practices, in the desire to know more about the technologies.

As a matter of fact, Israel has gone a long way in smart agriculture. Today, its cows have been acclaimed as the highest milk production in the world. In 2018, the average milk yield per Israeli cow was 12,010 kg — a lot higher than global standards. What makes it all the more challenging is Israel as a country does not offer the best conditions to raise a farm, much more to maximise dairy output. As a Middle East country, it harbours unfavourable conditions that include extreme heat and humidity, not to mention the country’s lack of resources.

Israel’s accomplishment today is a product of decades of hard work. While careful breeding plays a central role in its growth, intelligent farm management, and advanced technologies have all contributed to making the Israeli dairy industry the best in the world.

In the 1950s, Israeli’s milk production was at about 4,000 kg of milk annually. Today, Israeli dairy farms produce over 12,000 kg in a year. What makes it a great undertaking is the number of farms in the country has actually fallen (from about 1,100 to 774), but the annual production per farm has risen. To date, dairy production is just one of the many industries that have been drastically affected by the infusion of Information and Technology (ICT).  Indeed, technology has transformed dairy farms into smart farms, giving the dairy sector a boost.

The application of the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have been integral to the success of smart farming. Top of the line is Israel’s model. Dr Luis Tedeschi of Texas A & M University, a leading smart farming expert, expounded that the integration between precision farming and computer modelling yields maximum profitability for a dairy farm. This is done by optimising individual dairy cows’ performance to the point that animal welfare and productivity are embedded into decision-making support systems.

Certainly, the future looks bright for the dairy sector of the Philippines with Israel’s timely aid. Smart farming calibrated to the country’s weather conditions and terroir should deliver the quality dairy output the country needs over time.

The advent of digital technology has expanded the way services are delivered to people all over the world. And the digital transformation of the Philippines should boost its economy dramatically. Mindful of that, the FinTech leaders of the country have recently asked upcoming leaders to commit to technology and innovation in light of the coming national elections this May.

In the meantime, the Philippines is slowly pivoting its economy to play a role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Already, the nation is attracting investment in ICT by setting the CREATE law into motion, as reported on OpenGov Asia.

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