The Zambian Government has recently announced a deficit supply of milk that currently represents a large milk production potential and income opportunities for the country’s traditional cattle keeping areas.
According to Zambia’s Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda, the country has a current milk deficit of 85 million litres per annum due to the low contribution of the formal milk industry that approximately represents 30% of the 215 million litres of milk produced in the period 2013/2014.
The government is currently importing 12 million litres of milk per year, however it is not enough to cover the deficit and different measures are being taken to support milk production’s growth, he added.
Zambia’s total milk production is dominated by the traditional sub sector constituted by small-scale farmers and smallholders, which together hold 1,829,093 out of 2,684,196 cattle representing 82.8% of the cattle population in the country according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
In addition, from the total cattle population, only 60,000 were daily destined to milk production between the commercial and traditional sub sectors, which leaves the formal market supplied with approximately 65 million litres of milk in the period 2013/2014 and traditional production accounting for 58.3% of the total delivered.
The government plans to raise the utilisation capacity at the country’s Milk Collection Centres (MCCs) by promoting the huge economic benefits for small-scale farmers and smallholders due to the difference in prices from USD 0.23 per litre in the informal sector against USD 0.48 per litre in the formal one according to the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV).
By doing this Zambia expects to produce a total of 75 million litres of milk in the period 2014/2015, however the domestic demand is increasing at higher rates and is expected to close at 445 million litres in the same period up from 300 million litres in 2013/2014 according to Zambia’s Dairy Farmers Association.