Eswatini Dairy Board Projects
The board's projects are in line with the Government policy of food security, poverty alleviation, job creation, investment promotion, self-sufficiency, export promotion, reduction in urbanization, rural income generation, Agro-based industry promotion, HIV/AIDS prevention and economic growth and development.
As part of developing the dairy industry, the Board intends to bring in a major processor to the country. This is envisaged to have significant positive results in closing the country’s milk shortfall particularly improvement of milk production on dairy farms. This is also expected to have long-term positive spin-offs in terms of availability of quality dairy products as well as employment opportunities for the people of the country and to create a competitive environment among dairy processors in the country hence transform the industry to a market driven industry. These benefits are in line with Governments policy of food security, job creation, investment promotion, export promotion and poverty alleviation.
Currently the total demand for milk and milk products in the country is estimated at 50 million litres per year in terms of liquid milk equivalents (LME’s) whilst local milk production from the dairy herd is about 7.35 million litres per year. The remainder of 42.65 million litres of liquid milk equivalents (LME’s) is met from imported dairy products and contribution from the beef herd. Therefore the country has a long tradition in milk production which consists of the traditional and commercial sectors.
The traditional sector is derived from the production of milk from the beef herd in particular the local Nguni breed. The cows are milked during the summer months mainly when they have just calved and the grass is abundant and nutritious. In 1996 this sector was estimated to produce about 26 million litres per annum (T.Ngozo 1996) and most of the milk is consumed at home and any surplus is either given to neighbours or sold to increase farm income.Milk collection centers are very important in promoting milk production from the beef herd in the rural areas. This is due to the fact that milk is a highly perishable product which quickly gets sour if not cooled down immediately after milking.
Establishment of Milk Collection Centres (MCCs)
Realizing that the different types of dairy cattle breeds have become extremely expensive to source outside the country the Board has found it fit to revive milk collection from the beef herd in the rural areas of the country.
The Milk Collection Centres will enable farmers to realize the following benefits:
- (a) Produce more milk from the beef herd to improve the nutrition of their families, avail milk to the Neighborhood Care Points (NCP’s), members of the public or sell the milk to the processing plants
- (b) Create jobs in the rural areas and to some extent alleviate poverty
- (c) Improve their income and raise the standard of living for their families
- (d) Reduce the importation of dairy cattle into the country since dairy cattle are not easily available in the country. Furthermore, there will be a reduction in expatriation of funds to RSA to purchase dairy cattle and dairy products (funds to be used in improving local economy).
- (e) Use of a low input /low output system which is suitable for the current beef herds and beef / dairy crosses.
The income generated from the project will improve the standard of living for the participating families or farmer group members
It has been observed that farmers who milk their animals by hand or employ labourers to do the job for them tend to fail to milk the animals completely. Some of these farmers change milkers more often due to various reasons and these changes compound the problem of incomplete milking. These results in improper milking that tend to introduce udder health problems such as mastitis. Total milk production per cow per lactation is also reduced due to milk retained in the udder. In this regard it has been observed that the introduction of 2 point milking machines in the regions will teach and inspire farmers to purchase their own milking machines due to the benefits realized from increased milk harvesting per milking.
2-Points milking machine project
The use of milking machines will enable farmers to realize the following benefits:
- (a) Milk harvesting per cow will improve due to the reliability of the milking machine and less milk retention in the udder
- (b) Clean and good quality milk will be assured
- (c) Incidences of mastitis will be greatly reduced
- (d) Women can also use the milking machine with ease
Once the farmers realize the advantages of using the milking machine, they will try by all means to purchase one for themselves. Create potential for Swazis to purchase and rent out the machines or use their machines to milk for the farmers at a fee.
Farmers experience problems of changing milkers more often due to various reasons. Dairy animals are very sensitive to many hands handling them and this result in milk production dropping drastically. Human beings are moody, their milking performance varies each day.
The project involves the training of individuals within communities in artificial insemination with an ultimate aim of producing proficient inseminators. These inseminators will provide services to cattle owners mainly within their communities at cost to generate income for themselves. It is expected that they will provide services to cattle owners on time and relieve the Swaziland Dairy Board from driving long distances to provide similar services that tend to be too costly to provide. The technicians will provide artificial insemination (A.I) services to individual dairy farmers and their farmer groups as well as beef cattle to generate purebred and crossbred animals.
Community Based Artificial Insemination Project
Due to diminishing financial and other resources for the Board to carry out the A.I service efficiently throughout the country, it is proposed that a number of technicians be trained and groomed to take over and provide the service at cost in areas with large numbers of dairy and beef cows and heifers to be bred. The main purpose of the exercise is to breed dairy cattle and generate a pool of weaners to be supplied to the community based feedlots in the rural areas. This will reduce the financial and human resource constraints on the part of the Board and also assist in creating jobs for the participating individuals in providing the service. This approach will require funding to ensure that these technicians are properly trained and groomed to provide an efficient and reliable service that is self sustaining and can be depended upon in the medium and long term.
Once the technicians have been groomed and kick started with the initial stock it is expected that they will generate income to improve the standard of living of their families and produce good quality animals. These animals will produce meat and milk for communities to have access to good quality animal protein.
- (a) Good quality animals will be produced for communities to sell for slaughter and good meat will be available for consumption.
- (b) More milk will be produced from cows produced from the project and communities will have access to milk protein mainly to improve the nutrition of their families.
- (c) More jobs will be created and more income will be generated to improve the standard of living of the participating families.
- (d) Reduction in dairy cattle and imported milk into the country.
The overall semen collection project is intended to produce high quality semen from bulls of various breeds with good genetic material to produce good quality animals to provide the nation with animal products such as meat and milk. It has been observed that some farmers buy expensive bulls in and outside the country to use them for breeding purposes. This approach is very risky since the bulls just die from various causes such as tick borne diseases. In this respect the farmer loses a lot of money and the good genetic material to produce good animals to produce meat and milk. Replacing these bulls is expensive. In this regard Eswatini Dairy Board has found it fit to establish a semen collection center to collect, process and store the semen for future use irrespective of whether the bull is still alive or long dead. This facility will be established at Mpisi Training Centre with cattle.
Semen Collection Project
The country at the moment loses a lot of valuable bulls with good genetic material to produce high quality offspring. These bulls are often purchased outside the country and their loss through death and other causes result in loss of revenue to the farmer and the country as a whole. It is for this reason that the semen collection project is introduced in order to preserve the good genetic material and also avoid huge financial losses to the farmer. The collected semen will be preserved for a very long time after the bulls are dead and good animals will be produced from them to supply meat and milk to the nation. Also important royal cattle used for specific functions can also be preserved in a similar fashion to ensure continuity of their supply.
- (a) To assist farmers to produce high grade beef and dairy cattle through semen produced in the country.
- (b) Create jobs and alleviate poverty by encouraging the establishment of community based artificial inseminators that will use locally produced semen.
- (c) Reduce the number of live bulls and semen straws imported into the country.
The semen collection project will enable farmers to breed good animals through artificial insemination from semen produced locally.
Dairy cows are not easily available in the country and milk producers have to import them. In this regard Eswatini Dairy Board assists farmers to import dairy cattle at a rate of about 80 dairy cattle per annum. The figure is expected to increase in 2010/2011 financial year due to the increase in the number of farmers making preparations individually and in groups. The increase will definitely lead to an increase in the number of trips to the neighbouring countries thus requiring trucks to be used be on top condition.
The Jersey breed on most smallholder and medium scale dairy farms has become the favorite breed because of its ability to adapt well in harsh environments and has high quality and tasty milk compared to the Friesian or Holstein-Friesian breed. In this regard farmers with jersey milk rarely run out of customers.Through the importation of dairy cattle from neighbouring countries most of benefiting farmers are able to increase income and raise the standard of living of their families. On the other hand they supply the nation with quality milk to improve the overall household nutrition particularly in the rural areas.However the Board will also encourage entrepreneurs to come forward and produce these animals in the country or alternatively import them for resale to local farmers at reasonable prices.
Dairy Cattle Imports
The Board has a mandate to make sure that most of the Government farms are being converted into dairy farms on a large scale basis or dairy farms run by farmer groups. This approach will increase overall milk supply in the country and also improve the nutritional status of the population. Furthermore the additional dairy farms will encourage investors to invest in the country by establishing the proposed Ultra Heat Treated (UHT) milk factory.
Use of Government Farms
Establishment of a new processing plant