Malawi on Saturday joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Milk Day.
The ceremony that brought together dairy farmers, representatives of major milk processing companies and government officials among other attendees, took place at Mulanje Secondary School ground in Mulanje District under the banner “Milk the secret of good health”.
Presiding over the event, Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Grey Phiri said milk has contributed greatly to the good health and economic status of Malawians and Malawi as a country.
“This is a very important day for the country,” he said, “because milk is very crucial in providing vital minerals needed for a healthy living and it helps the body by preventing diseases.”
“This is why we are encouraging and sensitizing Malawians to utilize milk and milk products on a daily basis,” he said, adding that this would also help reduce stunting among children in the country currently at 37 percent and prolong life.
“Through dairy farming,” Phiri added, “milk has also enabled farmers to provide financial support for their families such as paying school fees for their children.”
“What I like most is that there are many females headed households that are benefiting from this form of agriculture. Women have also been empowered economically and can even pay for their children’s college tuition,” said the PS.
He then indicated that Malawi as a country has also benefited from the export of milk products hence the need for the ceremony.
Speaking earlier, a representative for milk processing companies McDonald Kachitsa said they are ready to work with dairy farmers to ensure quality and quantity in milk production to meet demand.
“Firstly, let me thank all farmers for the good job they are doing supplying us with milk.
“As processors, we promise to continue giving out loans and other necessities so that farmers can improve the quality and quantity of milk because for us to produce good dairy products for consumption and export we rely on them,” he added.
Also speaking earlier, Patron for Shire Highlands Milk Producers Association (SHMPA), Eric Halaman advised farmers to properly take care for their dairy cattle by feeding them the recommended food rations and protecting them from pests and diseases.
He then disclosed that as SHMPA they are working hand in hand with various stakeholders including government to address various challenges the milk industry currently faces.
World Milk Day falls on the 1st of June each year.
This year’s ceremony was organized by the Shire Highlands Milk Producers Association.