MALAWI – We Effect, an international non-governmental organization (NGO) associated with the Swedish Cooperative Movement, has injected US$575,705 (K1.4 billion) into the Malawi Dairy Value Chain Project, aimed at enhancing milk production in the country.

Esther Chirwa, the NGO’s country manager, revealed this during a visit by a Swedish delegation led by Anna Tibblin, its secretary-general, to the Mapuyu Milk Cooperative in Traditional Authority Kalolo, Lilongwe.

Chirwa highlighted that We Effect is collaborating with five milk-bulking groups, equipping them with assets and technical expertise.

 “We Effect is a proud member of Agricord, and we secured funds for this project under the Farmers Organizations for Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific [FO4ACP] initiative,” he said.

“Commenced in 2021, the project is slated to continue until 2027, encompassing various interventions such as capacity building for farmers and investment in equipment to support processing for dairy concentrates in cattle feed.”

Moreover, Chirwa noted that besides the Mapuyu Milk Cooperative, they are also actively engaged with bulking cooperatives in Ntchisi, Dedza, Ntcheu, and Dowa districts.

In addition, Andrew Chimalizeni, the Malawi Dairy Chain project manager, emphasized the project’s significance in addressing value chain challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The project aims to tackle challenges such as the scarcity of feed resources, limited access to profitable markets, and institutional hurdles,” he stated. “It seeks to strengthen existing structures weakened by the pandemic.”

Agnes Chiutenda, the chairperson of the Mapuyu Cooperative, expressed gratitude to We Effect for its support, highlighting a substantial increase in milk production from 1200 liters per day in 2021 to an average of 6000 liters per day.

Tibblin, impressed by the cooperative’s business approach, commended the initiative’s impact. The project receives funding from Ifad and the European Union through Agricord.

However, according to FAO-UN data, local production in Malawi meets only 65% of the demand for dairy products, with the remaining 35% imported.

This situation, coupled with the presence of only five major milk processors utilizing below 50% of the total produced milk, affects the competitiveness of prices offered to local dairy farmers.The country’s reliance on imported semen further exacerbates the challenges faced by dairy farmers.

To address these issues, proposals have been made for the establishment of a breeding center, a liquid nitrogen plant, and dairy processing centers under a private sector-led model.

The total investment required is estimated at US$11.2 million, with specific costs allocated for each component. 

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