Dairy producer across the country last week Wednesday met in Windhoek to discuss strategies for surviving the current economic situation as well as possible ways to save the industry.
The dairy industry has been in the midst of a serious crisis over the past few years.
This according to the Dairy Producers Association (DPA) was among others caused by cheap imported dairy products, increased feed costs, the ongoing droughts that have affected the water levels at the Hardap Dam and the associated poor economic situation.
The well attended meeting, according to the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) newsletter observed that the crisis is now out of control and that serious intervention is needed at all levels.
According to the report, dairy producers are leaving the industry at an alarming rate, where in past years there was a solid number of 45 producers, the DPA now has only 12 producers left.
“The lost milk volumes of producers exiting from the industry as well as the reduction in production due to factors beyond the control of producers are the cause of a shortage of milk to the processors. The possibility of the dairy industry facing total extinction has now become a reality,” the report said.
According to the report, in 2018, raw milk production for the year stood at about 24 million litres.
“This figure dropped to 21 million litres in 2019. The expected production estimate for 2020 is only 16.7 million litres. Covid-19 and the associated closure of the Namibian Breweries, caused a further significant reduction in production because brewer’s grain, a by-product derived from beer, and used as the primary source of feed for the dairy cows, was not available for a few weeks,” the report
The positive outlook, the report says is that all role players, the farmers at the meeting are eager to work together on measures to sustain the industry effectively.
“One such initiative is the cost-saving measures on feed through which Claudia Mack from Feedmaster works with producers to develop a tailor-made package for each.”
“The packages have different dairy concentrate options, giving producers the opportunity to add their choice of by-products,” it added.
According to the newsletter report, further measures reaffirmed for the survival of the Namibian dairy industry are government support.
“It should come in the form of a milk subsidy to cover increased feed costs, as well as to stimulate reinvestment to increase local raw milk volumes,” the report said.
“The acceleration of the Bill on the control and import of dairy products, as well as the formulation and finalisation of the regulations to implement the Bill is also essential,” the report added. –firstname.lastname@example.org