The country will start registering a drop in milk wastage following the opening of K1.5 billion milk collecting centre and cooling plant by Lilongwe Dairy Limited at Goliati in Thyolo.
Over the years, milk wastage has been a key issue for bulking groups due to unpredictable power supply and poor maintenance of collecting plants.
The problem is worse in the Southern Region, especially in Thyolo, Mulanje and Chiradzulu where over 12 percent of milk is thrown away due to the scarcity of milk buyers and storage facilities.
However, the new facility built with support from Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (MICF) will offer farmers the opportunity to hand over warm milk to be stored.
It is hoped the project will reduce milk wastage at the producer level, increase income from reduced milk wastage and boost productivity.
According to a dairy farmer, Elizabeth Chimbanga of Mitabali Village in Senior Chief Chimaliro in Thyolo, it was not profitable to engage in dairy farming without a reliable milk storage facility and buyers.
“Over the past years we have been selling milk to milk vendors in the community because there are no buyers. The vendors would buy at as low as K100 or less a litre. It was a loss,” she said.
But with the opening of the collecting centre, over 45 tonnes of milk per day from all three districts will be deposited at the facility.
Lilongwe Dairy Limited general manager Edwin Chilundo told Business News that since the plant opened in April, milk wastage rate has dropped to three percent.
“We might not satisfy the needs of all farmers but our impact has already been noted. Reducing milk wastage is what we want to solve,” he said.
Chilundo said the investment of K1.5 billion, includes bringing in new equipment at the factory and purchase of milk float drags (vehicles).”
Malawi produces about 30 000 tonnes of milk a year worth K6.4 billion, according to Blantyre Agriculture Development Division (ADD) programme manager Erick Haraman.
He said with improved facilities such as the one at Goliati, Malawi can improve efficiency in the distribution of milk.
“This is our hope because this will surely reduce wastage of milk in the supply chain while allowing rural milk producers to access the facility to improve their livelihoods,” he said.