By JUDITH NAMUTOWE –
THE Dairy Association of Zambia (DAZ) has trained more than 1000 small-scale farmers in various dairy activities and capacity building during the last financial year.
DAZ executive manager Jeremiah Kasalo said in an interview that small-scale farmers were trained mostly in milk hygiene, quality,standards and artificial dissemination.
He said the association had scored a number of achievements in the last three years of existence, particularly that DAZ has gained recognition within the country that it is a mouth piece of the diary sector.
“So we are recognised by Government and various organisations which include donor agencies, which is a positive development for us as an association,” Mr Kasalo said.
He said the association had further managed to increase the number of small scale farmers involved in the business of dairy from the previous 110 three years ago to 5,000.
Mr Kasalo, however, said that the association wanted to push the number of small-scale farmers to 10,000 in the next three years.
“When we started, the number of small scale farmers was about 110, but over the years we have managed to reach the 5,000 mark that we have today.
‘‘We also have large-scale and emerging farmers who are 150 in number. The allied category membership has also grown to a significant number of about 22,” Mr Kasalo said.
Mr Kasalo said that the association had also managed to facilitate the establishment of milk collection centres(MCCs).
He said when the association started, MCCs were about 18 but that, the number has increased to 58 in the country.
A number of MCCs have been established in Southern Province particularly around Monze, Namwala and Mazabuka areas, adding that the association also has quite a number of them around Lusaka and will soon be extending to the Copperbelt.
Meanwhile, Mr Kasalo said the association had also assisted farmers to have easy access in terms of input in that, DAZ had formed partnerships with input supplier for livestock services.
He said this has enabled members to get inputs on credit terms which they pay back according to a specified period, considering that the challenge faced by farmers was the access to funds.
Mr Kasalo said the association had also established a relationship with equipment suppliers such as SARO, CAMCO and National Milling among other suppliers.
“On equipment, they are able to get calf carters and tractors, which they pay within a period of 90 days. This has eased the operations of farmers not only for their dairy business but also for other farm activities,” he said.