Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government aims to be able to meet 24 percent of domestic milk needs to reduce the high dependence on imported milk, according to Putu Juli Ardika, the Director General of Agro-Industry at the Ministry of Industry.

"Our milk imports are quite substantial, especially after COVID-19. There has been a significant increase in imports," Ardika said during the Young Progressive Farmer Academy Kick-Off Program in Jakarta on Wednesday.

He stated that before the COVID-19 and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks, the domestic sector was supplying 22 percent of the fresh milk needs. However, milk production has declined since the FMD outbreak.

"We are now below 20 percent. Over 80 percent of our milk is imported. The growth of milk production from year to year has averaged 1 percent for the last 6 years, while the demand for raw materials in the milk processing industry has grown by 5.3 percent. So the gap is widening," he said.

Efforts are being made to restore the productivity of dairy cows, which is currently at 8–12 liters per head per day, according to Ardika.

He disclosed that the productivity could potentially increase to 24–30 liters per head per day.

"We will collaborate to improve the quality of feed and build a feed ecosystem that can support dairy farming activities," Ardika added.

The ministry aims to provide incentives to improve the ecosystem for obtaining milk as a raw material for the milk processing industry by restructuring machinery by 2024, according to him.

"This includes cooling systems and devices to maintain the quality of milk raw materials. We have already started discussing that," he informed.

Regarding financing, he mentioned that the milk processing industry is expected to become the guarantor and off-taker (buyer) for financing the development of fresh milk production.

"There have been many developments by banks in their financing systems," he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Tri Melasari, the Director of Processing and Marketing of Livestock Products at the Ministry of Agriculture, stated that national milk production has only reached 22 percent.

"After the FMD outbreak, we have implemented programs to increase population and consumption," she added.

She mentioned that efforts were made to increase the population of dairy cows, provide tax incentives, and offer feed subsidies for farmers during the FMD outbreak to improve production conditions.

Additionally, the ministry collaborated with various parties for the development of organic dairy cattle farms and provided mentoring to breeders, she added.

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Translator: Ade Irma J, Resinta S
Editor: Anton Santoso
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