Malawi Milk Producers Association (Mmpa) says it is banking on the planned establishment of National Milk Marketing Board to regulate the dairy value chain and enhance performance of the dairy sector.
The establishment of the board, which is in line with the Milk and Milk Products Act, follows concerns by players in the dairy sector that the absence of the board has contributed to the dwindling performance of the sector.
National Milk Marketing Board will be a regulatory body that will oversee milk and milk products issues and will be represented by members of the dairy sector value chain, including Mmpa.
Mmpa national director Herbert Chagona said in a written response on Wednesday that the local dairy sector faces a number of challenges as it is unregulated; hence, the proposed board will sanitise the sector.
Among the challenges, Chagona cited poor prices, lack of deliberate investment policies, influx of imported substandard milk and milk products that is killing the local market and affects consumers.
He said: “The board will foster the regulatory aspects of the dairy sector. All the mentioned challenges are there because of the absence of the regulatory body.”
Chagona said since the sector will be regulated, it means there will be a control which will result in the viability of the sector through creation of employment and introduction of new technologies in the sector.
Commenting on whether the regulations will not impinge on the tenets of a liberalised economy in line with regional and global trade protocols, he explained that most governments across the world are interested in protecting their citizens, saying Malawi is not a peculiar case.
Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development director of animal health and livestock development Patrick Chikugwa in an interview on Tuesday said the sector needs serious regulation for enhanced outcomes.
He said: “The review process of the Milk and Milk Products Act to culminate in the establishment of the board commenced and will soon be completed.
“Among other functions, the board shall monitor trends in the dairy industry and advise the relevant authorities on dairy export and import requirements. In so doing, it will check on importation of substandard and low-quality dairy products.”
The proposed board will be mandated to enforce compliance of various issues currently affecting the dairy industry, including milk production, collection, processing and marketing to protect producers, processors, consumers and guiding stakeholders in the dairy sector on dairy business.
The board shall also ensure the involvement of women, youth and other disadvantaged groups in all the activities aimed at developing the dairy industry, including equity of resources. Lilongwe-based agricultural economist Derrick Kapolo said the regulatory framework is ideal, but observed that the whole local dairy sector needs a complete overhaul to adapt to modern dairy production trends.