Minister Lowe appreciating some dairy cattle
* It is disheartening to note dairy farmers toil to feed the cattle with recommended food rations
* And protect them from pests and diseases yet at the end of it all are being offered low prices by milk processors
By Tikondane Vega & Stewart Majiga, MANA
Minister of Agriculture, Lobin Lowe said government would speed up the process of establishing a national milk marketing board to control milk production and regulate minimum prices.
He said this on Wednesday during the commemoration of World Milk Day at Bvumbwe Research Station in Thyolo which was held under the theme: ‘Milk: Source of Sustainable Nutrition, Environmental and Socio-Economic Empowerment’.
Lowe said it was disheartening to note dairy farmers toil to feed the cattle with recommended food rations and protect them from pests and diseases yet at the end of it all are being offered low prices by milk processors.
“Currently, one litre of milk is being sold at K220, not even equivalent to 500 milliliters of bottled water,” he said, thus assuring dairy farmers that the establishment of the national milk marketing board would help to address challenges that they face on a daily basis.
He added that government was working with different organizations in the milk industry to increase production and consumption in all regions of the country.
“At the moment, Shire Highlands Milk Producers Association (SHIMPA) is producing almost 80% of the milk which is consumed by the whole country. In other regions, the production is very low,” Lowe said.
He commended SHIMPA for scaling up dairy production to ensure the availability of milk in the country, saying “locally, we have enough milk and very soon, Malawi will be able to export”.
President for Malawi Milk Producers Association (MMPA), Rodrick Mbango said people should consider dairy farming as one of the businesses that might help to fight against poverty in the country.
“Dairy farming is very contrary to other types of farming in the sense that it is not seasonal — so, it might be easy to use it as a powerful tool for generating income,” he said.
SHMPA chairperson, Saini Kapito said due to poor prices and lack of enough training, farmers are failing to utilize dairy farming as one way of running away from the poverty trap.
World Milk Day is commemorated on June 1 every year and the event brings together dairy farmers, processors and government officials to reflect on challenges and opportunities to scale up milk production and consumption.