Farmers around Bunda benefit from dairy farming

Bunda Milk Bulking Group (MBG) farmers say they have started enjoying the fruits of their dairy farming.

This comes seven months after the group received a donation of pregnant heifers from Bunda College of Agriculture.

The goodwill gesture was made under the Bunda Dairy Outreach Programme coordinated by the Department of Animal Science.

The department purchased and distributed 25 in-calf crossbred and pure heifers to 24 first beneficiaries on pass-on programme with funding from Flanders International Cooperation Agency (FICA) and ScottishGovernment through Scottish Agriculture College.

Six of the heifers had already calved as of January and their milk production is as high as 16 litres per cow per day.

One first beneficiaries, Juliana Gomeza from Mkwinda EPA said with this level of production she has managed to refurbish her dilapidated khola and has constructed concrete feed and water troughs.

She told a visiting team from Bunda College that other benefits were that the family had now more milk to drink than before.

The team had Dr. Dave Roberts, Head of Dairy Research Centre from Scotland Agriculture College.

Some of the farmers have also benefited from improved legume pasture established Bunda College farm.

The department said this is a critical precondition to any farmer intending to start or in dairy farming, though mostly overlooked by many.

The farmers revealed that one of the secrets to their commitment is the motivation they get in trainings, their field visits to other farmers and monthly monitoring field visits by technical staff from Bunda College and Government Extension workers which are part of the adopted implementation

The college’s Dr. T.N Gondwe said villages that surround Bunda are within the Central Region Milk
Processing Association (CREMPA) Milk shed area and would benefit more from dairy instead on relying on piece works at the college.

“The outreach program will showcase Bunda College potential to utilise its expertise to improve farmer livelihood through livestock improvement, dairy farming in particular,” said Gondwe.

Currently farmers sell milk to local communities and to enhance milk marketing when all farmers are in milk production, Bunda College has installed a 1,200 litre capacity cooling tank where farmers will be delivering their milk.

In addition, the college has just procured a small milk processing plant, similar to the one operated by farmers in Mpoto Dairy Farmers Association (MDFA).

In terms of capacity, the two projects supported training of one farmer Artificial Insemination (AI) Technician to assist in artificial insemination.

The Scottish Government assisted with a AI full kit and in addition, two bulls were distributed in two EPAs to facilitate mating and timely conception.

Demand for dairy animals is huge among farmers, but the college resources are small and output from its own breeding is low to suffice. The ground for expansion is, however, fertile.

The department, in collaboration with Malawi government agriculture extension workers is working with farmers from Mkwinda and Mitundu Extension Planning Areas in Lilongwe district to demonstrate the best practices in dairy farming.

The department’s collaboration is conducted in addition to the groups research experiments and demonstration activities such as legume pasture production and dairy breeding that take place at Bunda College Farm.

This is a Bunda-Government-Farmer participatory activity that sees the three players working together in a win-win process.

The dairy outreach programme is to directly benefit over 50 farming families, in the short term, from the aforementioned EPAs through its contribution to improved livelihood.

This is to be achieved through increased income and per capita milk consumption resulting in increased household nutrition security.

Bunda College will benefit by expanding the practical and research area to the surrounding immediate communities as components of relevant research plus capacity building.

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