The Rural Livelihood and Economic Enhancement Programme (Rleep) will provide K349 million (about $698 000) to the development of dairy value chain in the country, the organisation’s national programme manager Dixon Ngwende has said.
Ngwende said in an interview last week that the funds will also boost milk production and quality in Blantyre and Thyolo, where dairy farming provides employment to hundreds of people.
“Rleep believes dairy industry has potential to contribute to the growth of the country’s economy. Milk processors have told us that they have ready export market, which they are failing to meet because our production is low,” he said.
Ngwende cited a number of reasons for the low production, including farmers’ negligence on taking care of the animals’ feed, housing and health needs.
“We discovered that many farmers are negligent on animal feed, housing and health. This negatively affects milk production; hence, we have partnered with [dairy] farmers from extension planning areas of Ntonda in Blantyre and Dwale, Matapwata and Khonjeni in Thyolo to sensitise them on how they can improve on these for an improved production and quality,” he said.
Ngwende said Rleep is also working towards increasing the number of artificial insemination, which is critical in dairy industry.