Milk Cooling Centre turning into a white elephant in Phalombe

Phalombe: A milk cooling facility at Chitekesa Rural Growth Centre in Phalombe is slowly becoming a white elephant due to the community’s failure to produce enough milk for sale.

Assistant Veterinary Officer for Tamani Extension Planning Area, Christopher Ching’amba said the facility has been out of commercial use because milk production in the area does not meet the minimum demand by most milk processors who buy milk from cattle farmers in the country.

Recently, we lost an opportunity to be supplying Dairiboard Malawi Limited which was interested in our milk. However, their requirement was that we supply them with 1 500 litres of milk in every three days, but we can only produce a maximum of 750 litres in the three days, explained Ching’amba.

He added that communities around the cooling centre have only 93 dairy cattle, among which some are male, hence, the inability to produce more milk.

Agriculture Extension Development Coordinator for the area, Charles Mphoka wondered whether there was proper research on availability of dairy cattle in the area before construction of the facility.

This was like constructing a stadium in an area where there are no players and teams, so now we want to start finding people to be using the stadium, said Mphoka.

He emphasized on the need for a deliberate mechanism that would ensure maximized milk production in the area, such as asking for assistance from Shire Highlands Milk Producers Association (SHIMPA) which imports fast breeding dairy cattle from South Africa and Holland.

Programmes Manager for Blantyre Agricultural Development Division, Eric Haraman, said the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development was aware of the problem and was already looking for lasting solutions to ensure that the worth of the project is not lost.

Haraman, who is also a member of the SHIMPA committee, said he would take the issue up with the committee in the near future.

Chitekesa Rural Growth Centre was constructed under the administration of Professor Bingu wa Mutharika as a way of ensuring that rural communities have access to modern life.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA