The Dairy Association of Zambia (DAZ) says the nation’s milk production is far below the installed capacity of 182 million litres per annum.
According to DAZ, the constrained growth was a result of high cost of inputs. This resulted into sector producing a mere 65 million litres per annum.
“Feed prices constituted about 65% of the total production cost in the milk production sector, this makes it extremely prohibitive for increased production,” DAZ Policy Officer Kapoche Mwale said.
Mwale said the high production costs had slowed the growth of the dairy sector that had seen a mere 4000 new producers coming on board since 2011 when there were only 1,500.
The sector employed 27,000 people, directly and indirectly, and contributed over K61 million in taxes to the treasury.
Mwale said the industry had the potential of having more than 10,000 producers with increased infrastructure such as roads and milk collection centres.
In a related development a combined team of the Czech-based Mendel University, Lusaka-based University of Africa, Agriserve Agro and Breeding Impuls have set up an on-farm training programme to help smallholder dairy producers increase their production.
The on-farm training backed by local and international players is targeting to improve production of 150 smallholder dairy producers in the first of its kind training in Zambia.
“The training introduces farmers to innovative, low cost dairy farming methods. The key is to help them increase productivity and sustain it,” says Renier van Vuuren, CEO of Agriserve Agro.
The training stresses sustainable profitability for smallholder farmers using low input production systems in dairy farming.