THE STORY OF GOATS
WHICH GOT MY GOAT
By Manny Piñol
In my recent visit to the Small Ruminants Centre in the Central Luzon State University in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, I saw a pitiful sight of a young student trying to squeeze the udder an old dairy goat who hardly gave a liter of milk.
The old dairy goat was one of the thousands brought into the country from the United States under a US government program called PL480 aimed at helping the dairy industry in the Philippines.
The US government granted hundreds of millions of pesos in a sincere effort to improve the dairy industry which as of now produces only 1% of the total milk requirements of the country.
But corruption again got in the way of this wonderful program which could have made money for the small farmers.
Instead of buying pedigreed goats which would improve the genetics of the local goats in the country, old goats discarded by many dairy farmers in the US were included in the shipment.
The goat merchants have been doing this for many years now and have been raking in money to the disadvantage of both the U.S. taxpayers who are spending for the program and the Filipino farmers who are supposed to benefit from it.
These goat merchants, however, have a problem with me.
A few days from now, I will be taking over the Department of Agriculture, the agency which is handling the implementation of PL 480 through one of its bureaus, the Animal Industry.
Their problem is that I am a goat raiser and I know what a good dairy goat is. In fact, I could identify the breed of a dairy goat by just looking at its features.
Not only that. I know most of the outstanding dairy got breeders in the U.S. and I know that many of the goats brought to the country did not come from them or are discards from small dairy farms.
In my most recent quick trip to the U.S., I went up to Klamath Falls in Oregon near the border of California to visit a dairy farm started by my American friend Jim Clem.
Jim now has about 400 dairy goats composed mainly of Anglo-Nubians and La Manchas.
His most outstanding La Mancha milker produces as much as 6.5 litres in one day for eight months of the year.
Now, compare that with that old dairy goat I saw in the Small Ruminants Centre in CLSU which hardly filled a 1 litre bottle of Coke.
In Jim’s dairy farms, he discards goats which produce less than three litres a day because he says it is a waste of time raising them.
I know there is supposed to be another shipment of dairy goats from the U.S. worth over P100-M.
I will make sure that this shipment now will not include old and discarded dairy goats.
As for those which have already been shipped into the country, I will order an immediate inventory of the goats and check whether these are really producing milk or not.
If they are not, then the merchants and those responsible for the purchase of these goats will be held accountable.
This culture of corruption has got to stop.
(Photos show Jim Clem’s outstanding dairy goats in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Photos by Winchell Campos)