TANZANIA – Tanzania’s local milk production has increased to 2.4 billion litres annually amid an increasing demand which has pushed the country’s spending on milk imports to US$12.78 million.

Speaking during a meeting with stakeholder in the dairy sector, Luhaga Mpina, minister of Livestock and Fisheries Development, noted that the country spending on milk imports remains high despite having a high local production capacity.

Tanzania is ranked second in Africa in terms of the largest cattle population with about 30.5 million cattle, reports The Citizen.

Moreover, only 56.2% of the milk is processed locally, a situation which the stakeholders attributed to a tough business environment including a capital crunch, price instability and market challenge.

During the meeting, which was organised by NMB Bank in partnership with Global Dairy Platform (GDP), Mr Mpina appealed to commercial bank for an increase in funding milk producers across the country in order to arrest the situation.

He also added that Tanzania still milk trails behind in per capita consumption, which stands at 47 litres per year against 200 litres proposed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The country local production only contributes to 21.8% of the total annual demand of 11 billion litres with the daily production at 150,000 litres against a production capacity of 750,000 litres per day.

Mr Amos Amore, from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Eastern and Southern Africa, added that the trend was attributable to high taxes on inputs and processing, policies, rules and regulations as well as procedures among other business strains.

According to GDP executive director Donald Moore, partnerships between actors in the country’s dairy value chain presents a major window towards revitalising the sector.

He therefore, called for all the value chain actors to coordinate their efforts and be linked to demand-responsible knowledge, research and extensive system.

Additionally, Ernesto Reyes, sector lead, GDP, said:

“Farmer and producer groups make it possible to achieve economies of scale by improving access to inputs and services, creating incentives to raise productivity and address risks inherent in small scale production and marketing.”

As part of revamping the sector, Carol Nyangaro, NMB Bank’s agribusiness senior manager, expressed their commitment to agriculture financing with special focus being on the value chain.