Drink Locally

That’s what people need to be told.

There’s a lot of stuff in the European news about eating only local fruits and vegetables, according to the season. But here, the problem might be to drink locally.
The Philippines pays $ 500million a year to import milk and milk products.
We use carabao milk (i.e. waterbuffalo milk) for our coffee, buying a pint a day. It is higher in cream than cows milk, and delivered daily to the door. We used to buy it from local farmers but now there is a local center to process the milk, so that we don’t have to boil it anymore, and it doesn’t tend to separate as quickly as it did in the past.

However, it still tends to go bad in a day or so, so we have to drink it quickly.

The alternative ? Imported Cows milk from New Zealand, treated UHS in boxes to allow a long shelf life.  And, of course, non dairy cremers are popular for coffee.

But for some reason the local milk is about the same price as imported cows milk from New Zealand.

When you hear about using local products, you have to realize that there might not be a good alternative.

Of course, most Asians have lactose intolorance, so can’t digest milk, but there is still a market for milk: for cooking and for coffee. Like a lot of the stuff about globalization, imported goods are more expensive, but higher in quality than local goods, and with all the advertisements, tend to be thought of as “better”.
Because the government wants to encourage breast feeding, no infant formula commercials are allowed. But the TV is full of commercials for milk based formulas to feed your toddler. You also can buy various yogurt type drinks, some with probiotics, and soy milk, but there isn’t as much on our local supermarket shelf as there is at the mall: Such products tend to be used for upscale buyers who tend to live in the gated communities, not those of us with small businesses who buy at local shops. As for water buffalo milk: it probably won’t put a dent into the New Zealand agribusiness, since as globalization increases prosperity, more people will buy milk and milk based products.

But anyway, Erap was visiting the local center in San Jose two weeks ago…story HERE.. he’s still popular with local folks…

At the Philippine Carabao Center in the Science City of Muñoz, he urged greater public and private support for an expanded carabao program which could slash  by one half the country’s yearly expenditures of $500 million in imported milk and dairy products.

“I am proud of having been involved in the establishment of the Philippine Carabao Center because it is one of the agencies of our government that is now serving our people honestly and faithfully,” Estrada told the crowd that greeted him at the facility……

fifteen years after the PCC was established, there are now 13 similar centers in the country as far north as Batac, Ilocos Norte and as far south as Kalawit, Zamboanga del Norte

For non Filipinos, Joseph Estrada, an ex movie star, was president until the present president threw him out after being accused of plunder. After a long court case, he was convicted, and then promptly pardoned.

However, the farmers in our area he is still popular. And, of course, government supported schemes such as milk from water buffalo, or land reform, planting high yield rice, or helping with fertilizer and loans is part of life.

My husband and I tend to eat local foods, but young people often prefer to snack from Jolibee or McDonalds. So what’s our “carbon profile”?

Well, depends.

Our carbon dioxide profile is probably low, but if you consider all that methane from the water buffalo and from eating organic brown rice, our methane profile is probably high.

The dirty little secret is that methane from cattle, sheep, and water buffalo are also causes of global warming.

Hopefully, our farmers won’t have to pay a “fart tax” on their waterbuffalo for awhile.

As for all that discussion about rich countries sending money to poor countries as part of the global warming treaties: Around here, we figure a lot of it will end up in the purses of the politicians. It’s a sham proposal that won’t help the poor people, but only the rich…business as usual in many countries, but no one wants to discuss the extent of the problem….Welcome to reality….


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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