A situation analysis by the Malawi Milk Producers Association (MMPA) has shown that dairy milk production increased to 45.6 million litres valued at K9.6 billion in 2021.
This represents an 8.5 percent increase in production when compared to the 42 million litres of milk the country produced in 2020.
According to the report, the amount falls way short of market demand.
It further notes that Malawi’s milk consumption remains the lowest in Africa at 8.3 litres per person per year, which is far behind from the average milk consumption of 20 litres in Africa.
“Among other reasons, low milk production in Malawi is attributable to use of poor breeds and shortage of dairy cows in rural communities. In order to improve milk production and consumption, which translate to increased farmers income and improved health, there is need to have more dairy animals and of improved breed,” the report reads.
In an interview, MMPA National Director Helbert Chagona said the industry was affected by an industrial action by truck drivers, shortage of available dairy animals to potential and new farmers and out-dated and incomplete cooling equipment in milk bulking groups.
“We are facing numerous challenges in the sector that require support from the government in addressing. For example, we lack affordable finance facilities for the farmers to buy animals and equipment; our farmers lack practical training and continued importation of powdered milk at the rate of 56,000 kg a day. If not controlled, this will kill the local industry,” Chagona said.
Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Grecian Lungu said the government projects a rise in milk output this year as first round livestock production is estimated to increase.
“We expect cattle numbers to increase; so will goats and pigs, among others. We are anticipating a decline in chicken production only this year. This should be good news that the industry will continue on a positive trajectory,” Lungu said.
There are 70,000 dairy cows in Malawi with an average of two cows per farmer.
About 15,000 farmers own at least a cow and 6,000 farmers are dairy farmers without dairy animals but registered on waiting for a pass-on heifer or farmers doing any other business within the dairy value chain.