The country’s milk processors are offered lowest milk prices in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) at K140 (about $0.2) per litre, a development described as a raw deal by Malawi Milk Producers Association (MMPA).
This is against the background of an increase in production cost, forcing farmers to sell their milk in the informal market at a low price.
MMPA national director Herbert Chagona said in an interview this week farmers are failing to reinvest in dairy farming because of low prices.
He said while Malawian farmers are getting about $0.23 (about K175) per litre, their counterparts in Zambia are raking in $0.35 (K267) per litre and in Zimbabwe $0.45 (K343) per litre.
“From 2010 to 2015 they have only added K75 to the price of milk. It is a shame,” said Chagona, adding that investing in the sector would give more sustainable results as the impact is passed on from generation to generation.
He also bemoaned lack of resources in the Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development to monitor activities in the sector.
While admitting that the farmers are facing price challenges, Civil Society Agriculture Network (CisaNet) national director Tamani Nkhono-Mvula said it is currently conducting a proper gross margin analysis to establish the level of investments that farmers are doing in relation to what they are getting.
He said CisaNet would do a comparative analysis with other countries to establish reasons behind the high cost of producing milk in the country.
“This will help us to objectively engage with government if we are going to find remedies for these challenges,” said Nkhono.
He said CisaNet has engaged government to ensure there is increased funding to the livestock sector, but the situation has not changed.
MMPA is a grouping of three associations, namely Shire Highlands Milk Producers Association, Central Region Milk Producers Association and Mpoto Dairy Farmers Association. n