- Category: Business Review
- Written by Dumbani Mzale
The Malawi Milk Producers Association (MMPA) has described government’s plans to import 50 pure dairy breed cows as a positive development.
MMPA was commenting on the speech Malawi President Joyce Banda made when opening the 44th Session of Parliament on Friday.
Banda said government has procured 50 dairy pure breed cows from South Africa. They will arrive in the country this month.
The cows, according to the President, will be given to a special livestock project in the capital, Lilongwe.
MMPA programme manager Hebert Chagona on Tuesday described the initiative as encouraging.
He, however, said the 50 dairy cows will not make much impact on the country currently grappling with shortage of milk.
“The introduction of addition pure dairy cows is an encouraging sign although it is on a small-scale.
“Malawi needs between 5 000 and 6 000 to address the shortage of dairy animals,” he said.
Chagona said Malawi still has one of the lowest milk consumption figures in the world and this situation can only be reversed if government is committed to livestock promotion.
Malawi has milk per capita consumption of five litres against World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation that a person should take 220 litres of milk in a year.
Chagona said his organisation is encouraging all stakeholders to work together to develop a comprehensive plan to improve the livestock industry.
“MMPA is still convinced that cross-breeding the local Malawi zebu cow with pure dairy bulls is the most cost-effective way of improving dairy cows in the country. That method could also be used to promote beef production,” he said.
Chagona said the association is not only producing top quality semen available to farmers, but is also importing pure beef semen for farmers to improve beef production.
In her speech, President Banda said government is committed to develop the livestock sector in Malawi, adding that a number of projects have already started.
She said government has established One Cow a Family Project to improve both meat and milk cows.
Banda said the project is aimed at helping poor families to increase their nutritional intake and also enhance their income levels.
“A cow is given to a family and that family is required to pass on the first female calf to the next beneficiary so on and so forth,” said the President.
MMPA was formed to promote dairy farming as a powerful tool to alleviate poverty in Malawi, lobby government and industry for a conducive environment for dairy production.
The association is comprised of three regional associations, namely, Mpoto Dairy Farmers Association (MDFA), Central Region Milk Producers Association (Crempa) and the Shire Highlands Milk Producers Association (Shmpa).