A boost for dairy: Mbalame Cooperative receives cattle from TRANSFORM – Capital Radio Malawi
24 July, 2024

A boost for dairy: Mbalame Cooperative receives cattle from TRANSFORM

The Sustainable Food Systems for Rural Agriculture Transformation and Resilience (TRANSFORM) project has donated 20 dairy cattle to Mbalame Dairy Cooperative in Dowa to boost milk production capacity of the cooperative.

The donation has been made Tuesday through one of the implementing partners, Trustees of Agricultural Promotion Programme (TAPP) with funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy through the NCA/DCA.

In an interview after a ceremonial handover, TAPP Head of Programmes, Brown Chitewere said in total, TAPP would donate 69 dairy cattle to the cooperative, which has been valued at around K 56 million.

“We decided to make the donation considering the potential the dairy industry has in transforming lives. This is one of the biggest game changers in the agricultural sector because it has a structured market and it is easy for farmers to get sustainable income from this. So we would like to strengthen the capacity of this cooperative in terms of production and commercialization.

“But these cattle we have given farmers today are under a pass on arrangement, meaning once they reproduce, they must give the offspring to another person so that we may reach a wider coverage,” he said.

Chitekwere called upon the farmers to take care of the livestock so that the intended goals be achieved.

Chief Agriculture Officer for Dowa, Albert Kaputa said the gesture supports government’s Malawi 2063 agenda which has agriculture as one of its priorities.

“In order to achieve this, we need to work together, both government, partners and individuals. The agenda talks about improving both agricultural commercialization and productivity, so this development has the potential to contribute towards this agenda,” he said.

Kaputa asked the members to promote unity amongst themselves to ensure success and sustainability of the cooperative.

Chairperson for Mbalame Dairy Cooperative, Pretorius Msonthi said before the donation, the cooperative had 180 cattle, with 32 at milk production stage.

Currently the cooperative produces over 150 litres of milk a day.

“But we have big dreams which include production of our own feed to cut costs and maximize production.

“We want to commence value addition and have our own mini processor right here. We are currently annually contributing K60,000 for 12 shares per member towards this. So the donation is a big step for us in reaching our goals, and we are very thankful for this,” he said.

Msonthi thanked TAPP for previously providing a generator to the cooperative which he said now provides backup power.

The cooperative was established in the year 2017 and has a membership of 290 dairy farmers with 120 male members and 170 females and this includes 43 youth and four persons with disabilities.

NCA/DCA Agriculture Value Chain Specialist Elube Kasina said the donation would help improve the cooperatives market access by improving milk production.

She added that they have donated other value addition processing equipment like oil extracting and peanut butter making machines amongst others to cooperatives cross the districts they are working in.

She said they plan to reach out to 80 farmer organizations in the districts.

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