Government says it will do everything possible to improve the Diary sector as it has the potential to drive the country’s economy.
And Minister of Commerce Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma says the Coronavirus is one of the major concerns to government as it has negatively affected developmental programmes and people’s lives.
Mr Yaluma said the government was more determined than ever to empower both farmer groups and small and medium Enterprises through the provision of financial support, livestock and machinery to transform their businesses into highly productive enterprises and thereby facilitate integration into higher value markets.
Speaking when he handed over 86 dairy animals to the Monze Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society today, Mr. Yaluma noted that government through the Zambia Agribusiness and Trade Project is committed to support emerging and commercially oriented farmers by investing in both their technical know-how and business management skills to link them to large buyers.
He explained that through the ZATP support, emerging farmers would be able to grow their business into sustainable ventures that will both create job opportunities and also increase their agricultural production and trade.
Mr. Yaluma disclosed that his ministry through ZAPT aims to provide beneficiary support to 4,500 individual farmers and 180 producer organisations by 2022.
” As you are aware my ministry through ZAPT has been empowering farmers groups and small and medium Enterprises(SMEs) that have exhibited willingness to progress by submission of winning proposals and business plans in the various value chains. In this vein, my ministry aims to provide beneficiary support to 4,500 individual farmers and 180 producer organisations by 2022,” said Mr. Yaluma.
The Minister observed that Monze Dairy Cooperative was faced with low milk production and poor market linkages among other challenges and expressed hope that these would be addressed following the grant of K3,293,724 Million that would be used to procure 172 dairy animals, installation of five spray races, and procurement of 172 milking cans among other things.
He noted that his ministry has so far facilitated the total disbursement of K2,119,824 Million that has been used to procure 146 dairy cows for distribution to members.
“The Monze Dairy Cooperative applied for a total grant of K4,705,320 Million to ZAPT to address productivity gaps, farmer capacity and operations issues and through support from ZAPT the cooperative received K3,293,724 Million to purchase 172 dairy animals, installation of five spray races, procurement of 172 milking cans, procurement f a vehicle and electrical motor for the chiller and feed formulation,” said Mr. Yaluma.
” so far the cooperative has received two disbursements valued at K2,119,824 Million which has been used to procure 146 dairy cows.
Today, the cooperative is distributing 86 dairy animals that have been procured to 86 members and- this is a big step towards increasing milk production for the cooperative which will translate into increased household incomes,” said Mr. Yaluma.
He added that through support from ZAPT the cooperative will contribute to employment creation, transfer of knowledge and skills to farmers, and building a culture of entrepreneurship among the 172 members around Monze central, and surrounding areas.
The Minister further advised beneficiaries of the 86 dairy animals to take proper management of the animals to produce good quality milk of required standards for the market.
“The dairy animals you are receiving today will require proper management for them to give you the kind of milk the market is looking for . It will also take hard work, commitment and consistency to sustain the momentum and ensure success of your cooperative,” said Mr. Yaluma.
He also thanked the world Bank for supporting the dairy sector in the country and thus help to transform dairy farmer’s lives.
And speaking at the same function Monze Diary Farmers Cooperative Chairperson Mr. Geoffrey Munkombwe says the support the venture has received from the government and its cooperating partners through ZAPT would help to increase and sustain milk production in Monze District.
He said the cooperative has also plans to set up a milk processing plant by the 2021 in order to add value to the raw milk.
The ZAPT is a five year project funded by the World Bank aimed at increasing market access through the provision of training technical and brokerage services, business development, and productive investment in forms of matching grants to deserving producer organisations such as farmer’s cooperatives.