Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) wants to empower Central Region Milk Producers Association (Crempa) to become an independent entity.
The farmers’ grouping says it wants individual milk producers within the Central Region to benefit from their business.
In an interview on Monday, FUM director of agribusiness and marketing Jacob Nyirongo said when Crempa is run as a business, it is going to be wholly owned by milk producers through shareholding.
He said when the group turns into a cooperative; it will have strong leadership to enable it to move forward.
“We want the membership to understand the importance of collective action, thus we are trying to help them to look at how to become stronger as a primary producer cooperative group through strong leadership and shared vision and to grow as a milk bulking group,” said Nyirongo.
According to him, Crempa is also being taught good feeding, good disease management and also good milk management so that they realise more profits from their dairy business.
Crempa chairperson Fredson Mlangali said it is high time the association moved in the direction of a cooperative if dairy farmers are to realise tangible benefits.
He said by turning into a cooperative, it will be easy to access medical services when dairy cows get sick and the farmers will have bargaining power for better markets.
Said Mlangali: “Crempa has benefited a lot from stakeholders’ support in many ways, including financially yet the farmers do not seem to have made significant improvement in production.
“I think that this is an issue that requires mindset change where at the moment most farmers do not want to accept that with what they have, they can plan and move forward and wean themselves from getting support from government and organisations.”
Through a project known as Central Dairy Scaleup whose implementing partners are FUM, Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) and Heifer International Malawi, Crempa has a revolving fund through which dairy farmers access veterinary and medical services for their animals.