The Dairy association of Zambia (DAZ) has urged small-scale dairy farmers to practice standard hygiene procedures during the rainy season. This will hold milk quality.
According to Victor Ng’andu, DAZ dairy development officer, good rain since late December has caused good pasture growth and fodder production. Small-scale farmers have increased their milk production since November, when there was much less rain.
Ng’andu said because conditions were moist and warm, dairy farmers had some challenges maintaining milk quality. Most Zambian small-scale farmers delivered grade-A milk, he said.
Farmers in the Southern and Western provinces had been the hardest hit by heavy rain and had to take serious care of their hygiene practices.
Ng’andu shared the following standard dairy hygiene procedures to prevent disease contamination:
- Deliver milk from disease-free animals only.
- Disinfect the udder before milking to remove dirt and bacteria from the teats and to keep the environment as hygienic as possible avoiding contamination of the milk.
- Wipe the quarters dry with paper towel after cleaning and never use one towel for more than one animal.
- Discard the first milk which acts to rinse out the teat canal and get rid of any bacteria lurking in the teat.
- Milkers must wash up before milking with a disinfecting soap. In the milking shed, dairy staff should wear protective kit, which may be overalls and milking aprons. There can be no smoking and perfume is not a good idea in the milking parlour.
- The floor of the milking area should be easy to clean. A good concrete surface works well. The area should be roofed and have barriers against the prevailing wind.
- Milk deliveries must arrive at chilling facilities within two hours to prevent spoilage and bacteria multiplication.
OUTLOOK FOR ZAMBIAN DAIRY FARMERS
Ng’andu said there were opportunities in the dairy sector for Zambia’s estimated 6 500 small-scale dairy farmers.
“The sector is on an upward growth curve as more investments are earmarked for setting up infrastructure to collect more milk from small-scale farms and to increase training in management to result in increased productivity for the farmers.”
He added that the DAZ had targeted an increase of four million litres, from last year’s production output of 16 million litres from small- scale farmers to a projected 20 million litres this year.