Blantyre — Farmers in Dedza District have called on government to intervene on the price of milk on the market saying most farmers are working on loss in the dairy farming.
Clerk of Dzaone Wekha Milk Bulking Group in Traditional Authority Kaphuka, Kadauma Mtera made the revelation Tuesday when a group of journalists visited the place to appreciate how the dairy farming business is progressing.
The journalists were on tour organized by Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) to visit Mayani and Linthipe Extension Planning Areas (EPAs) where with funding from Capacity Building for Managing Climate Change (CABMACC) was implementing a three year feeding and breeding technologies to enhance milk production and reduce carbon emissions known as REDCAP.
He said the processor who buys the farmers milk at the place buys the milk at K 155 while for members of the group to come up with one litre of the milk they invest K200 meaning there is K45 difference which is a loss.
Mtera added that, "We have been arguing with the processor for long on this issue but repeatedly say they buy milk at such a low price for them to make profits as well since government also impose heavy tax on them.
What we need is that the processor should buy K250 or K200 a litre the same money we spend to come up with a litre."
The Clerk feels the processor is doing that because has no competitor and farmers have no choice adding if authority cannot intervene dairy farmers in the area will continue to face challenges in accessing markets as well as covering costs related to the production of milk.
A milk farmer andArtificial Inseminator, Golden Kalinde said the price of milk need to be looked into since most farmers feel duped by the processor.
"As a farmer, I have no choice but to sell milk to the only processor that is available," he said, adding though they buy at a low price farmers still make profit because mostly they feed the cattle using locally available resources thanks to Luanar for the knowledge imparted through their project.
The project, which focused on smallholder dairy farmers in the drought prone district of Dedza, aimed at finding environmental friendly farming methods that would also boost production of milk.
CABMACC through the project trained farmers on how they can make alternative and relatively cheaper dairy marsh and also equipped them with appropriate animal husbandry and management skills.
With the skills they have acquired from the project, they are now able to make feeds that boost milk production using locally available resources.
Dzaone Wekha Milk Bulking Group has 256 members and the grouping has been around since 1973.