LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philippines — The Philippine carabao population is ranked the sixth largest in Asia, but its milk industry is among the lowest in the region.
As of 2013, there were 2.912 million carabao heads in the country, accounting for two percent of Asia's total buffalo population of about 188 million.
India was the world's top buffalo producer—109.4 million, constituting 58 percent of the global population. It was followed by Pakistan (33.7 million), China (23.3 million), Nepal (5.24 million), and Myanmar (3.3 million).
The Philippines is nowhere in the list of top buffalo milk producers in Asia.
According to the book "Dairy Buffalo Value Chain Analysis in Luzon, Philippines", the Philippine carabao population has been declining. Its population decreased 2.3 percent from 2010 to 2014.
The decline was attributed to rapid urbanization in some regions that substantially reduced the pasture land and forage area for carabao, the aging population of carabao farmers who are forced to sell their animals owing to difficulty in providing proper care and management, and the increasing trend of slaughtered native and male buffalo in some regions in Luzon.
The book is a joint initiative of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center and the Philippine government-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).
It features seven key industry players—input producers,farmers, milk collectors, dairy processors, wholesalers-retailers, retailers, and consumers.
The book examines selected carabao-based products in four regions in Luzon and recommends interventions to improve the competitiveness of the carabao industry.