ZAMBIA – Raw milk production in Zambia has increased significantly this year compared to last year as most farmers intensified operations while new ones joined the industry.

Figures released by the Dairy Farmers Association show that 65 million litres of raw milk were produced for the 2013/2014 season, up from 55 million litres in the 2012/2013 season.

Zambia’s 2015 milk output is expected to reach 75 million litres, although the figure still falls far short of the national demand of 455 million litres per annum.

According to Ministry of Agriculture data, per capita milk consumption is presently estimated at 35 litres, up from 19.5 litres in 2012.

Milk production plummeted over the last decade due to high production costs sparked by frequent disease outbreaks, high input costs and high lending rates.

DAZ, however, said the dairy sector had seen some improvements in the recent past.

It said by the end of August 2014, the association had produced 436 in-calf heifers in collaboration with

Zanaco who provided dairy loans to dairy cooperatives and individual emergent dairy farmers for 258 animals and 178 were financed by individual farmers.

The dairy sector had in the recent months seen an improvement of the product lines for one of the biggest processors, Parmalat, that established a powdered milk processing plant.

Varun Foods and Beverages started processing milk at its new processing plant and has also established new milk collection centres in the districts.

But DAZ said despite these positive trends, the dairy sector was still facing numerous challenges that need urgent attention by the government.

“These include outbreak of diseases such as mastitis and lumpy skin, poor supply of breeding stocks, high costs of financing and fuel, and shortages of bran for feed,” DAZ chairman Mirrian Mbazima stated in report to review the year.

Mbazima stated that the government should seriously consider addressing these challenges to improve the productivity of the sector.

November 10, 2014;