THE dairy milk value chain has to adhere to environmentally-friendly activities to make milk production sustainable, Agriculture ministry’s director of veterinary field services Jairos Muchakwa has said.
Speaking during Milk Day celebrations in Harare on Friday, Muchakwa said the ministry was working with relevant stakeholders to ensure the dairy sector adhered to environmental laws.
“Environment-friendly methods are by law required to be observed when disposing of dairy effluent. Working with the Environmental Management Agency, the local dairy processors have taken steps to ensure that effluent from their factories undergoes treatment before its disposal.
“This was after the realisation that there was no way they could promote such a healthy product on one hand whilst polluting on the other hand. I, therefore, urge all processors and producers to continue to adhere to the existing regulations on effluent disposal.
“Nutrition, agriculture and sustainability are no longer separate conversations. We can each play a role making choices on the farm, factories and in our homes that help us preserve our environment for future generations,” Muchakwa said.
He said that in line with the ministry’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) pillar 1, dairy farmers’ commitment to fostering a healthy planet was “as strong as their commitment to producing nutrient-rich milk on their dairy farms for consumers to enjoy a healthy lifestyle”.
“To this end, our farmers are committed to increasing milk production through sustainable dairy farming.
“Dairy farmers recognize that a cow’s comfort and health is very important to their overall sustainability efforts because healthy and well-treated animals produce high-quality, wholesome dairy foods. When it comes to animal care, nutritious diets, healthy living conditions and good veterinary care are practices routinely used by our farmers to keep their herds healthy,” he said.
This comes as the dairy sector has been underperforming with Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka in April saying that his ministry was working on reducing the cost of feed.
“We need to be self-sufficient in milk production; we are producing 80 million litres against a demand of 120 to 125 million litres of milk. We think that with the plan that the industry has, we will be able to produce about 125 million by 2025.
“One of the major cost drivers in dairy production is the cost of feed. The cost of feed alone can be 73 percent of the cost of producing a litre of milk, if we control this major cost driver we will probably be on our way to increase our profitability,” Masuka said.