Soybeans: part of solution to make Philippine education reforms work?

The following YouTube video could very well have been about malnutrition, especially among women of child-bearing age and children, in the Philippines and how the cultivation and consumption of soybean products would alleviate the situation.

Why there is little initiative to expand the growing of soybeans (beyond using it primarily as feed for livestock) is difficult to comprehend.  Our rapid population growth and crippling economic problems have reduced living standards and adversely affected eating habits, causing widespread malnutrition in most rural areas and the poor fringes of urban areas.

In “An effort to promote the production and consumption of soybeans as a means of improving nutrition in Nigeria“, an initiative was started back in 1987 by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), under the guidance of Principal Researcher Dr. Kenton Dashiell, to launch an ambitious effort in Nigeria to combat widespread malnutrition. With support from the International Development Research Centre, IITA embarked on a project to encourage and integrate the use of nutritious, economical soybeans in everyday food. It was important to impress upon the people that soybeans are about 40% protein–more protein-rich than any of the common vegetable or animal food sources found in Africa. With the addition of corn, sorghum, wheat, rice, or any other cereal to soybeans, the resulting protein meets the standards of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Soybeans also contain about 20% oil, which is 85% unsaturated and cholesterol free.

The average Filipino diet is light on protein sources largely because the traditional sources, like meat, fish, and eggs are expensive.  To improve on our protein intake, I believe the government should seriously consider establishing a Philippine Soybean Initiative similar to the IITA initiative in Nigeria, and recently, the soybean initiative in Afghanistan.

Since soy bean is an annual plant, the impact of its cultivation is immediate.  Could this be the solution to reduce or eliminate our malnutrition problem, the solution to improve the health of our child-bearing women and improve the brain development and health of our young and ultimately make Philippine educational reforms work?

The answer, of course, is obvious as we learned from the previous blog entry. “…studies conducted by the World Bank and the National Nutrition Council have shown that no amount of academic improvement projects will improve learning achievement when brain development and physical growth are stunted by the child’s unfavorable health and nutrition status.”

2 thoughts on “Soybeans: part of solution to make Philippine education reforms work?

  1. If you think our milk and dairy supplies can alleviate our malnutrition problem, especially in the rural areas, think again. And unlike soybeans that may be harvested within a year, dairy livestock have to grow over a number of years before they produce milk. Read the following report:

    Philippines Dairy and Products Annual 2008

    Despite continuing government and industry efforts to increase dairy production, Philippine milk production remains at less than one percent of total dairy requirements with import filling most of the supply, reports USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service. A link to the full report is also provided.

    Executive Summary

    Despite continuing government and industry efforts to increase dairy production, Philippine milk production remains at less than one percent of total dairy requirements with import filling most of the supply. Imports of milk and milk products are expected to slowdown this year due to continuing high world prices. Dairy products are the country’s second largest agricultural import.


    Data from the Philippine National Dairy Authority (NDA) shows that in terms of volume, domestic milk production grew 3.44 percent from 12,870 metric tons in 2006 to 13,320 metric tons last year. Value of dairy production in 2007 amounted to P387.11 million ($7.9 million at current exchange rate1). Local milk production is projected to continue to increase due to the growing demand for fresh milk. The country produces less than one percent of its total annual dairy requirement and imports the balance.

    As of January 1, 2008, there were an estimated 28,191 dairy animals, an increase of about 8 percent from the previous year, comprised of dairy cattle (13,864), water buffalo (13,416) and dairy goats (911). Dairy cattle numbers, in particular, increased by nearly 15 percent due mainly to the on going herd build-up programs of the NDA. Dairy animal numbers are expected to continue increasing by 500-1,000 annually, due to this government program as well as increasing farmgate prices for milk.

    Female breeders or dams accounted for about 58 percent of total cattle and carabao (water buffalo) population, respectively. The rest were bulls, heifers, yearling and calves. On the other hand, goat female breeders comprised 52 percent of total dairy goat inventory, and the rest classified under kids and bucks.

    Despite an increase in the number of dairy animals, the average milking capacity per animal remains low due mainly to inadequate feeding and poor animal management practices. Milk production of NDA-assisted dairy projects in 2007 was estimated at 9.27 million MT or 70 percent of national milk production.

    The average farmgate price of raw cow’s milk rose by 11.76 percent to P19/liter ($0.42/li) in 2007 from P17/liter ($0.33/liter) in the previous year, while the price of raw carabao’s milk increased slightly to P45.50/liter ($0.99/li). The price of raw goat’s milk increased by 6.06 percent from P33/liter ($0.64/li) in 2006 to P35/liter ($0.76/li) last year.

    According to trade sources, retail prices of local fresh milk increased by about 4.4 percent per year from P45/liter2 ($0.87/li) in 2002 to P55/liter ($1.19/li) in 2007. Retail prices of UHT milk on the other hand grew by as much as 10.3 percent per year from P39/liter ($0.76/li) in 2002 to P63/liter ($1.36/li) in 2007.

    Basically, there are four farm types in the Philippine producing raw milk: unorganized smallholder producers, cooperative smallholder producers; government and commercial farms. Both smallholder and cooperative producers allocate for home consumption and home-based processing. Milk from smallholder producers and are members of cooperatives is usually consolidated in a collection center and then delivered to a processing plant. There are at least 16 dairy processors in the country. The bulk of raw milk produced in government farms are processed in government-owned processing facilities and are sold to rural consumers. Fresh milk from commercial farms is sold to commercial processors for processing. Among the major suppliers to the coffee shops are milk processors from Batangas and Laguna. Other milk suppliers are importers of UHT milk, mostly coming from Australia and New Zealand. Large dairy companies have milk processing facilities but do tool packaging of their UHT milk from New Zealand. These companies use their known milk brands in the local market but use imported milk (Food and Agribusiness Monitor, University of Asia and the Pacific).


    The Philippines, with an estimated population of 86 million, growing annually at 2.36 percent, is a large market for milk and milk products. Dairy products are the country’s second largest agricultural import after wheat. The country’s dairy industry, which sources 99 percent of its inputs from abroad, is estimated to generate sales of up to $1 billion annually. The Philippines is now the 3rd largest market for U.S. dairy products, after Mexico and Canada. Total dairy exports last year reached $152 million, up nearly 58 percent from 2006. The top US dairy exports to the Philippines in 2007 were: nonfat dry milk powder ($100 million), whey ($23 million) and cheese ($4.3 million).

    In 2007, NDA estimated total domestic dairy requirements to be about 2.635 MMT, growing at about 2 percent yearly. According to the latest Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) survey, per capita milk consumption increased from 16 kg/year in 2002 to 19 kg/year in 2003.

    Over the last few years, numerous dairy cooperatives have sprung up in various regions of the country. About half of local milk production, according to NDA, is absorbed in the local communities where it is produced. The other half goes to school and community milk feeding programs co-funded by local government units. With dairy production in the country being more community-based, maintaining the quality of fresh milk becomes a major concern due to the lack of dairy processing facilities and milk delivery vehicles.


    Dairy products are the country’s second largest agricultural import after wheat. In 2007, imports of milk and milk products declined by about 2 percent in liquid milk equivalent (LME), from 1,733 MMT in 2006 to 1,740 MMT last year. While the value of total milk exports grew by as much as 43 percent last year due mainly to the significant rise in world market prices of dairy products which started in 2006 and a slowdown in global milk production. The major country suppliers by volume were New Zealand with 42 percent share of the total imports; followed by the United States with 18 percent and Australia at 13 percent.

    Non Fat Dry Milk (NFDM) and Whole Milk Powder (WMP) imports comprise about 58 percent of total milk imports. NFDM and WMP imports declined by about 4 percent and 6 percent, respectively in 2007. Liquid milk imports, on the other hand, increased by about 17 percent by volume in 2007 as a result of increasing domestic demand for fresh milk and liquid milk particularly by specialty coffee shops. Imports of butter and other dairy spread also increased by about 26 percent while imports of cheese increased by nearly 20 percent in 2007. Imports of dairy products in the first half of 2008 have fallen by as much as 14 percent and are expected to continue to slowdown for the rest of the year due to high world prices.

    Total dairy exports increased by 8 percent in 2007 with exports of whole milk powder comprising about 95 percent of the total volume . The main countries of destination were Indonesia (51 percent) and Malaysia (26 percent); other export markets include Thailand and Vietnam in 2007.

    Exports of dairy products from January to June 2008 grew by 12 percent by volume and as much as 47 percent in value. The re-export of dairy products to other Asian countries is expected to remain strong.


    The Philippine DA continues to prioritize the development of the Philippine dairy industry, recognizing the growing demand for fresh milk by the specialty coffee shops, hotels and restaurants as well as by the local government units for their milk feeding programs. While the DA accepts that Philippines cannot compete in the powdered milk ma rket, it believes that it can focus on supplying fresh milk to the market.

    The National Dairy Authority, an attached agency of the Philippine Department of Agriculture, is mandated to ensure the accelerated development of the Philippine dairy industry through policy and program implementation. The NDA aims to accelerate dairy herd build-up and milk production, enhance dairy business through the delivery of technical services at farm and enterprise levels, increase the coverage of milk feeding programs to reduce malnutrition and mobilize broad support for local milk consumption. The NDA implements the following four main programs:

    1. Dairy Business Enhancement – inculcates enterprise orientation along the supply chain from farm to market. Includes training programs to establish effective business models to assist participants to think business and profits and not merely productivity

    2. Herd Build-up Program – increase local dairy stocks and ensure good animal performance. Supervises animal infusion from importation, compliance with quarantine procedures, distribution and provision of technical services, as well as strengthening of the animal loan program of Quedancor. In 2006, 615 dairy animals were imported by NDA from New Zealand for distribution to various dairy associations

    3. Milk Feeding Program – the NDA Milk Feeding Program (MFP) provides a steady flow of income to local dairy farmers and cooperatives as well as used to address the problem of malnutrition in children. In cooperation with dairy cooperatives, partnerdonors such as local government units and other entities, the NDA undertakes milk feeding projects to raise the nutritional level of malnourished children. Improvement rates are monitored accordingly. Local Milk Trusts are created to facilitate payment to the farmers. A Philippine Milk Fund has been established through a public -private effort to widen the coverage of the NMFP.

    4. Milk Quality – in June 2005, the NDA’s Central Milk Testing Laboratory was accredited the Bureau of Food and Drug (BFAD) to conduct testing for milk quality and animal health. Following accreditation, the NDA began charging fees for its laboratory services and milk quality assistance and milk formulation standardization for milk feeding programs. The NDA Quality Assurance department was also created to disseminate quality standards and closely monitor quality procedures at the milk collection centers, milk plants and distribution points.


    Metro Manila remains as the major market for fresh milk classified into business and consumer markets. The business markets include the institutional markets and the retail sector such as coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and small retailers. Meanwhile, the consumer markets include households and schools through the milk feeding program of the government.

    The main target of local milk processors are the institutional buyers like coffee shops. Specialty coffee shops are good markets because of the continuing trend towards coffee consumption as a lifestyle in the country. Local suppliers are enjoying this market as most coffee shops demand local fresh milk for their coffee concoctions because of its superior taste and ability to promote foaming compared to UHT milk.

    The specialty coffee shop industry is seen to sustain its growth of 20 percent for the next five years. Players attribute this to the growing awareness of specialty coffee among consumer and the improving image of coffee in general. (Food and Agribusiness Monitor, University of Asia and the Pacific).

  2. Besides food to mitigate our malnutrition problems, especially in the young during the time when their brain development is at its peak, soy beans provide the raw material for other products for a myriad of industries. It’s a boon to the economy both as a source of income and in the creation of employment opportunities. The Iowa State University provides this report:

    What can be made out of soybean?

    Soybean has been grown for numerous years as food for millions of people and as a feed ingredient for livestock. Most people do not think of the other benefits of soybean. Many products are being created every year due to research efforts funded by soybean farmers across America. Below is a list of the many industrial and food use products using soybean or soybean-derived products as one of the main ingredients.

    Whole Soybean Products – Food Uses

    Baked soybeans

    Full fat flour:
    Doughnut mix
    Frozen desserts
    Instant milk drinks
    Low-cost gruels
    Pancake flour
    Pan grease extender
    Pie crust
    Sweet goods
    Soy sprouts
    Stock feeds

    Roaster soybeans:
    Candy ingredients
    Cookie ingredient
    Cookie topping
    Cracker ingredient
    Dietary items
    Fountain topping
    Soy coffee
    Soynut butter
    Soy coffee

    Traditional soyfoods:
    Soy sauce

    Whole green soybean

    Soybean Oil Products – Food Uses
    Fatty acids
    Refined soybean oil (see list of products)
    Soybean lecithin (see list of products)

    Refined Soybean Oil Products – Industrial Uses
    Anti-corrosive agents
    Anti-static agents
    Caulking compounds
    Core oils
    Diesel fuel
    Dust control agent
    Electrical insulation
    Inks, printing
    Linoleum backing
    Metal, casting/working
    Oiled fabrics
    Protective coatings
    Vinyl plastics
    Waterproof cement

    Refined Soybean Oil Products – Food Uses
    Cookies, crackers and snack foods
    Cooking oils
    Coffee whiteners
    Filled milks
    Liquid shortening
    Salad dressing
    Salad oils
    Sandwich spreads
    Vegetable shortening

    Soybean Oil – Lecithin Products – Industrial Uses
    Anti-foaming agents:
    Alcohol manufacture
    Anti-spattering agent:
    Margarine manufacture
    Dispersing agents:
    Ink manufacture
    Paint manufacture
    Pigments (paint)
    Rubber manufacture
    Yeast manufacture

    Calf milk – replacers

    Wetting agents

    Soybean Oil – Lecithin Products – Food Uses
    Bakery products
    Candy products
    Chocolate coatings
    Emulsifying agent
    Dietary use
    Medical use
    Stabilizing agent

    Soybean Meal Products – Food Uses
    Grits, soy flour, concentrates and isolates:
    Alimentary pastes
    Baby food
    Bakery ingredient
    Beer and ale
    Candy products
    Diet food products
    Food drinks
    Hypo-allergenic milk
    Meat analogs
    Meat products
    Prepared mixes
    Sausage casings
    Special diet foods

    Soybean Meal Products – Animal Feed Uses
    Bee foods
    Calf milk replacers
    Fish food
    Fox & mink feeds
    Pet foods
    Poultry feeds
    Protein concentrates
    Swine feeds

    Soybean Flour and Isolate Products – Industrial Uses
    Analytical reagents
    Asphalt emulsions
    Binders, wood/resin
    Cleansing materials
    Fermentation aids/nutrients
    Films for packaging
    Insecticidal sprays
    Leather substitutes
    Linoleum backing
    Livestock feeds
    Paints, water-based
    Particle board
    Tape joint cements
    Texture paints

    Soybean Hulls
    Dairy feed
    Filter material
    High fiber breads

    And we haven’t even started enumerating the myriad medicinal uses of soybeans…

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