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Power woes cost dairy industry K1.32 billion

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Malawi Milk Producers Association (MMPA), a dairy farmers’ representative group, has said the industry lost about six million litres of milk valued at K1.32 billion between January and September 2022 due to persistent power outages.

In an interview, MMPA National Director Herbert Chagona said the situation has affected over 25,000 farmers in the country.

He said the industry is struggling, having faced a drastic drop in milk production recorded at 12 million litres and been dealt a heavy blow with 50 percent of it going bad due to power failures.

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“The alternative source of power is diesel-run generators but it is equally a non-starter because of fuel shortage in the country.

“Foreign exchange shortage is another big issue as processors are failing to import packaging materials and other essential products to process the milk,” Chagona said.

Dairy farmer under Mangunda Milk Bunking Group in Thyolo District, Eliyasi Pilingu, said, since January, the group has lost over 80,000 litres of milk due to power outages.

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“We are facing a lot of challenges including power outages which result in our milk going bad,” Pilingu said.

A representative of one of the processing companies, March Milk Company, Madalitso Charles Phiri, said the firm is operating at below 50 percent capacity due to the power woes.

A situation analysis report published by MMPA has shown that dairy milk production increased to 45.6 million litres valued at K9.6 billion in 2021.

Malawi has been subjected to prolonged power outages since Kapichira Dam was washed away by Tropical Storm Ana in January, removing 129 megawatts of electricity against an installed capacity of 441.95 megawatts of hydro-electricity.

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