Dairy value chain development scheme continues

Jona Musheko

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform will continue the dairy value chain development scheme it initiated last year, which also includes commercial producers as a short-term solution.

According to the latest edition of the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) newsletter, the funds for the subsidy programme are already with the regional councils and are ready to be used and committed before the end of next month.

This was confirmed by ministry spokesperson Jona Musheko, who said the programme was started last year as a pilot programme in the Omaheke, Hardap and Otjozondjupa regions.

The ministry will evaluate the programme at the end of March to determine if it was a success or not.

“The government would then decide how much money to commit to the programme this year.

Last year, it was about N$5 million,” he said.

According to the NAU, farmers have to get a quotation/s from relevant suppliers and share these with the agriculture ministry for subsidy calculations.

“The office will inform the interested farmers of their contribution and each party would make payments directly to the supplier,” said the NAU, adding that there are sufficient funds to assist roughly 10 to 15 farmers, depending on the items to be procured.

According to implementation guidelines issued by agriculture executive director Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata on 19 January, the purpose of the scheme is to develop and support a modern and self-sustaining dairy industry based on small, medium and large holder production systems.

“The scheme seeks to link informal milk production to formal markets, including government offices, ministries and agencies, catering services and retailers, thereby stimulating the production of milk and dairy products in the country,” Nghituwamata said.

“Target groups are existing communal, resettled, peri-urban and commercial dairy producers,” she said, adding that the ministry aims to help about 45 farmers this year.

Severe challenges, particularly high production costs against low milk prices had forced many farmers to abandon the dairy industry over the years.

Due to the low market share of milk and dairy products in the formal market, the country has relied mainly on imports.

However, Nghituwamata believes in the potential of the government’s rescue plan for the dairy sector.

“The scheme has the potential to make Namibia self-sufficient in milk and dairy products through modernisation of our dairy industry.

One of the most effective models is to eventually organise producers into milk cooperatives/associations which collect, process, and/or directly market their milk and dairy products to formal markets,” she said.

The scheme will ensure linkages of formal milk producers to formal domestic markets, ensure a year-round sustained milk supply at national and household levels, develop a functional milk cold chain system and ensure value addition and skills development in Namibia’s dairy industry, she said.
– email: matthew@namibian.com.na

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