Farmers in the country have bemoaned poor milk prices offered on the market.
They made the remarks on Thursday during World Milk Day commemorations held at the Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) football ground in Thyolo.
One of the farmers, Elizabeth Chitimbe of Namahoya Milk Bulking Group in Thyolo, said they do not reap enough from their hard labour.
“It is painful that we get K120 per litre, which cannot meet our needs. We spend K7 000 on four 50-kilogramme bags of maize husks per month for cows and it is not easy to get fodder,” she said.
George Misinde from Kambuwa Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Chimaliro in the district, asked the authorities to adjust the minimum price to K200 per litre to improve their livelihoods.
Shire Highlands Milk Producers Association (Shmpa) secretary general John Phiri said milk processors pose a challenge as they set prices.
“We are at loggerheads with them. They only introduce prices to meet cost of their production. Probably, it [price] will increase after the removal of VAT [Value Added Tax], but we are not happy because it will settle on the figures we had before tax was introduced last year,” said Phiri.
In an interview, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Aggrey Masi, who was the guest of honour at the ceremony, said he is optimistic that the price may improve following the removal of VAT on milk.
“The [low price] challenge will never be there with the development. Now, all milk producers can make their own prices, but again it must be controlled in realisation of the removed VAT percent,” he said.
Shmpa has over 8 000 dairy farmers in Thyolo, Blantyre, Mulanje and Chiradzulu districts, who produce 70 000 litres of milk per day. n