New Era (Windhoek)

14 September 2012

Namibia: Experts Assess Plans for Milk Cooperatives

Photo: Fortune.
Seid Yemer was heading to home from shola market with his sheep herds on Thursday night.

Envisaged plans to establish a dairy cooperative in Kavango Region are well underway, following the recent visit by a team of Indian experts.

Kavango Regional Governor Maurus Nekaro says the project has the potential for implementation and once off the ground, it would empower the rural community with the opportunity to sell surplus milk to the cooperative, where the milk will be processed and then sold to retailers.

A team of experts in the dairy field from India visited the region to conduct technical assessments on the animal conditions in the regions, and a comprehensive proposal is expected in the near future.

"A lot of work needs to be done, therefore we are waiting for a comprehensive proposal that will outline what is viable and what not. At this point we cannot talk about the financial implications because we are waiting for the proposal from our Indian counterparts," said an upbeat Nekaro.

Nekaro particularly wants to see the establishment of a cooperative for the milk industry where farmers and villagers can sell their milk at a processing plant.

"By establishing a milk processing plant we are creating a market, because farmers will sell their surplus milk at the plant, and after it is processed it will be sold to retailers," he explained.

The preliminary findings by Indian experts suggest establishing a sustainable market for the milk industry is pivotal.

The concept is aimed at empowering the rural people, because should the envisaged project be implemented, "we need to create the right environment for the animals to develop adequately", said Nekaro.

During a meeting with the Indian delegation, the governor indicated the region is home to farmers with many cattle, but they have no clue as to how to go about making a profit from the milk.

"The region is filled with green schemes and animals, that can sustain the country, but we need to multiply ownership to achieve food security in the country," he said.

He said stakeholders would be consulted once the proposal is presented to the regional council.

The Indian team of technical experts has already returned to India after spending almost a week in Namibia conducting feasibility studies in the Omaheke and Kavango regions respectively.

The delegation's main objective was to conduct a technical overview on how Namibian cattle are cared for in terms of animal health and fodder.

In Kavango, the delegation visited Uvhungu-Vhungu dairy farm, Komeho Development Centre and several supermarkets in Rundu to access the dairy products in the supermarkets to assess the situation on the ground.

In May this year, Nekaro and farmers from the region went to India at the invitation of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).

The NDDB is known for the production and processing of milk through the Amul-Anand patent, the world's largest pouched milk brand.

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