The Malawi Milk Producers Association (MMPA) has bemoaned the continued low milk of production in the countryâ€™s dairy cows.
MMPA project manager Herbert Chagona said this in an interview when Business News sought his update on Malawiâ€™s performance in the first half of 2012.
“Average milk production in Malawi is eight litres per cow per day. With good feeding, production can increase to 20 liters per cow each day,” said Chagona.
In 2011, total milk production on formal market was 20.8 million liters which represents 1.7 million liters per month, according to MMPA statistics.
But Chagona lamented that last yearâ€™s total milk production was â€˜too low to feed a population of 14 million people.â€™
The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that for a healthy diet, a person should consume 220 liters per annum.
But currently, Malawians only consume an average of five litres per annum each, according to Chagona.
He said there is a critical shortage of dairy cows in Malawi estimated at 10 000 thus worsening the countryâ€™s dairy sector woes.
“There is need to increase cross-breeding or the government should at least be buying 200 pure breed cows from abroad per year for the next five years,” said Chagona.
Commenting on the achievements of the milk industry in recent years, Chagona said the association has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a private farm for practical training of 10 diary farmers per year as a way of increasing milk production.
He said MMPA has also become more of a service provider which has resulted in its membership increasing from 300 in 2004 to 16 000 members to date.
The members, according to Chagona, rely on the sale of milk and other dairy products for their daily survival.
Small-scale milk producers constitute 90 percent of Malawiâ€™s diary industry which is said to be one of the binding constraints to the growth of the sector.
He said MMPA has set up 13 cross-breeding groups, adding that the association has emerged as a platform for intensive lobbying with industry and government on milk prices and policies.
Among others, MMPA promotes dairy farming as a powerful tool to alleviate poverty in Malawi, lobby government and industry for
a conducive environment for dairy production and give dairy farmers a voice.
The association comprises three regional associations, namely Mpoto Dairy Farmers Association (MDFA), Central Region Milk Producers
Association (Crempa) and the Shire Highlands Milk Producers Association (Shmpa).