GOVERNMENT institutions, departments and ministries have been advised to opt for local manufactured milk instead of shying away from it due to the current trend of relying on imported powdered milk.
The advice was given by the Deputy Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Abdallah Ulega during a stakeholders meeting to celebrate milk week in the country.
He said milk manufacturing companies have the capacity to feed the population, calling on government entities to showcase patriotism by consuming local products rather than imported powdered milk.
“If we start searching government entities on consumption of milk, I am sure majority of offices are flooded with imported powdered milk while we have a good amount of processed milk,” he said.
He said the government is planning a special campaign to raise awareness to the public on the importance of drinking milk from a young age because it has many benefits to their health.
“We are up for industrial economy; we can only support the dairy industry by drinking milk, because it is one way of improving the economic status of cattle keepers as well,” he said.
Mr Ulega said the country is enjoying an increase in milk production, which rose to 3billion litres a year from 2.7billion litres last year.
Tanzania spends at least 30bn/- in milk imports each year, even though the country is ranked second in Africa in terms of the largest cattle population.
He added that the country had more than 30.5 million cattle that produce up to 3.0 billion litres of milk per annum.
Of the milk, only 56.2 per cent is processed locally, with stakeholders attributing the trend to a tough business environment, including a capital crunch, price instability and market challenge, among others.
Mr Ulega said they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank (TADB) by issuing loans to livestock keepers, whereas more than 200 have benefitted from the facility.
He underscored the need for schools, both public and private, to have a special milk drinking programme for students as manufacturers have come up with different packages to meet one’s financial capability.
Earlier, the Tanzania Diary Board (TDB) Registrar, Dr Sophia Mlote said they are mobilizing for value addition so that it fetches the best price.
She said they are motivating livestock keepers to come up with milk processing factories since it is a way for value addition, whereas the reaction has been impressive with the increasing number of factories.
The event brought together different stakeholders who showcased their services and products as well as sharing information and dialogue in order to improve production, collection, processing, consumption and quality of milk and milk products and benefit different actors in the dairy value chain, both at regional and national level.
Such platform, she said, help to create awareness to the general public regarding milk as a healthy and nutritious food for people of all ages, and to policy makers to become aware on the challenges and opportunities for the dairy industry’s role as a tool for social economic development.