The current legal guidelines on milk and milk products production exert unnecessary restrictions on the production and selling of milk which negatively affects small-scale milk producers, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza has said.
He said to solve that mishap, the ministry is revising the milk production policy so that it facilitates the production of milk by small-scale producers in such a way that they realise more returns from their toil which will motivate them to produce even more.
Said Chiyembekeza: “Eighty percent of the country’s milk is produced by small-scale milk producers and the policy is supposed to be framed in such a way that it addresses issues affecting these people, that is why we are revising it.
“Another biggest challenge facing the small-scale producers is the selling of the milk because farmers are not allowed to sell milk that is not pasteurised.”
He said this last week in Mchinji on the sidelines of Heifer International’s upgrading of Central Dairy Project which supports small-scale farmers to raise dairy cows and to improve their livelihoods.
Heifer International Malawi executive director Petronella Halwiindi said they are also supporting the revision of Milk and Milk Products Act so that it is framed in such a way that small-scale milk producers benefit from dairy farming.
The upgrading of Central Dairy Project will be implemented by Heifer International and it is expected that over 7 000 smallholder farmers will be introduced to dairy farming while 8 000 existing dairy farmers will increase their dairy production through improved animal health services, artificial insemination services and improved milk storage capacity of the milk bulking groups through provision of chilling tanks.
The K4.9 billion project is being funded by UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) and, according to head of DfID Jen Marshall, it will build stronger governance structures of milk bulking groups and regional milk producers’ associations that are managing most of the bulking groups nationwide.
She said DfID’s Dairy Development Programme encourages implementing partners such as Heifer International to deliberately target more women, adding that there is evidence that if women are helped to have more income, they are more likely to invest in their homes and in education of their children.