TANZANIA – Tanzania Dairy Board (TDB) has said that dairy cooperatives are important in implementing dairy development programmes to increase milk productivity and quality, reports Daily News.

TDB Acting Registrar, Mr Jeremiah Temu said there are financiers who will provide grants for increasing investment in dairy sector and in particular the establishment of small scale processing milk industries.

There are 76 milk industries ranging from 500 litres to over 120,000 litres processing capacity per day in the country necessita ting the need to invest in high milk-yielding heifers to meet the growing demand.

“Apart from increase in milk output, productivity and quality, dairy cooperatives are platforms for farmers to access sources of finance from various lending institutions,” said Temu.

“Various efforts to support the sector have contributed to increased milk production though still below the market demand.”

According to him, the huge demand for milk could be met by forming more farmers’ cooperatives that can allow farmers to access sources of finance from lending institutions to increase investment.

Tanga Dairy Cooperative Union (TDCU) was highlighted as one of the dairy cooperatives that have contributed to increased milk output, processing and marketing of milk from smallholder farmers and pastoralists.

TDCU holds 35% of shares in the milk processing and marketing facility at Tanga Fresh while the Netherland’s DOB Foundation holds 45% of shares.

Other successful cooperatives are NJONIFA-Milk Producers Cooperatives and Maziwa Cooperative Union.

2017/18 recorded higher milk production at 2.4 billion litres slightly below annual market demand of 2.6 billion litres, compared to 2.1 billion litres produced in the preceding year.

Livestock sector contributes 4.6% to the Domestic Product (GDP), with 30% being contributed by the milk subsector.

However, milk consumption remains low at an average of 20% or 46 litres annually compared to an average of 200 litres recommended.

One of the challenges that need to be addressed in the sector is lack of collection centres in milk producing areas attributed to post-harvest losses that have plunged the farmers into losses.

To improve the sector, Temu said Livestock and Fisheries Development Ministry in collaboration with stakeholders’ plans to produce one million heifers annually to ensure milk production increases to boost keepers’ incomes.