• December 13th, 2018
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Dairy producers rally over dire situation


WINDHOEK - An industrial meeting is taking place today in Windhoek to look at results of a study conducted on UHT, fresh milk and yoghurt’s market share in Namibia.

This critical situation in the dairy industry can be ascribed to mostly the influx of cheap UHT milk and closely related other dairy products into Namibia. Recently, imported UHT milk, mostly from SA, was selling on the shelves of Namibian retailers for as low as N$10.99 per litre. In reality, this milk is cheaper than a litre of water bottled in Namibia selling in the same shop.  In addition, the low-cost imported UHT milk found on Namibian shelves is cheaper than the same packs selling on the same day in South Africa.  That leaves a serious question mark.  

Dairy producers are still under pressure and there is great anticipation for the adoption of legislation regulating dairy imports in Namibia. This long awaited bill to regulate the import and export of dairy and dairy products due to be tabled in Parliament soon, if not given the green light could spell disaster for the local small dairy producers. The country’s 16 dairy producers and the entire dairy industry is in dire straits and increasingly the dairy component of their industry is reduced. In some cases, it has totally grounded to a halt. This situation makes it unattractive for new producers to enter the industry. To temporarily address the critical situation of producers, especially in view of the recent increase in feed and fuel costs, dairies processor, Namibia Dairies (whose situation is also critical) has raised producer prices by ten cents. 

Namibia Dairies also shared new innovative thinking with management to provide better and newer products to consumers at the best prices. During the meeting, a Feedmaster representative indicated that if enough rain was received in the maize producing areas in South Africa, the prospect is that their feed prices will move sideways until next February. A representative of the City of Windhoek involved in inspections of milking facilities on farms and accompanying health certificates were also invited to give input. There are currently less than 3 000 dairy cows left in Namibia. 

 “This economic dip makes resources scarce, thus resulting in the upscale of prices and in return increasing the cost of production. This is not just a milk thing. The pressure is on everyone. Maize prices will be affected by the lack of rainfall, and we can also expect an increase in fuel/oil prices going forward,” the managing director of Namibia Dairies, Gunther Ling was quoted. Sven Thieme, the Managing Director of the Ohlthaver & List Group, told dairy producers some time ago already that Namibia Dairies lost potential sales of N$1 million a month on long-life milk because of local shops stocking imported UHT milk.

If the UHT plant shuts down, it would result in cutting down the 1,7 million litres received from milk farms per month to only 700 000 litres, which would increase the price of milk for the average consumer drastically.

The O&L Group already had to close down its large dairy farm Rietfontein near Grootfontein, which had been in operation for about 100 years.
 


Staff Reporter
2018-10-30 10:13:10 1 months ago

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