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Milk production improves, deficit persists

PAULINE DIKUELO
Important substitution: Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Patrick Ralotsia
Local milk production stands at 6.2 million litres in 2017 representing a significant 55% increase from the four million litres produced last year.

According to the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security, the rise in local milk production is a welcome development but it still represent less than 10% of the country’s annual demand.

The 6.2 million produced this year represents only 9.5% of the 64 million litres of national demand per annum.

The 2017 milk production is however a significant improvement when compared to the 2.4 million litres produced during the same period in 2014.

According to the Ministry’s chief information and public relations officer, Boikhutso Rabasha this shows that government’s efforts to address the deficit in the local milk production is producing results. “Government continues to promote the dairy industry through the Dairy Strategy,” she said. “This will promote more farms to be established to produce more milk and reduce the import bill.”

She said one of the leased farms, Kealeboga Tata (Pty) Ltd, which is trading as Sunnyside Dairy farm has also been productive with milk production for the month of November printing at 39,000 litres with an average of 13,000 litres of milk per day from 540 cows from a herd of 1,160 animals.

“The project continues to make a lot of progress and further construction is taking place to accommodate more animals. This includes

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cow sheds, feeding and water troughs, equipping of boreholes, installation of larger milk cooling tanks, replacing and expanding the milking parlour to milk more cows at a time than the original 12 manager’s house,” she said.

Two years ago, government leased the NAMPAAD dairy farm to a South African-based couple Rob and Erica Ter Hofte on a 15-year lease. As part of the partnership, the couple was expected to provide farmers with practical training as one of the government’s efforts to reduce too much dependency on imports.

According to Rabasha, government has been promoting the dairy industry with the intention of reducing the import bill. This include the promotion of fodder production through ISPAAD which introduced Napier grass for farmers to benefit since there is a serious shortage of feed in the country. Government introduced subsidised sale of sexed semen for farmers to improve the dairy herds. She said the country’s dairy industry is still at its infancy thus allowing the country an opportunity to develop. Other farms, which are in the process of development, are Sedibeng SES, Semitwe Dairy farm and Milk Afric adding that government is in the process of identifying more land to allocate investors in the dairy industry.



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