Botswana still imports most of its fresh milk from South Africa, the ministry responsible for food security has said.
Chief Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Development and Food Security Geoffrey Pheko said in an interview that limited land for dairy farming has been identified amongst the challenges that prospective dairy farmers are facing.
Pheko also cited lack of quality feeds locally and high prices of fodder which is a priority. The supply of feed in Botswana he explained is inadequate and as a result most of materials in puts for dairy feeds are imported as a result dairy feeds prices have remained high. These factors, he said, has resulted in in limited investment in the sector.
Official figures shows that in 2016/2017 financial year, Botswana dairy farmers managed to produce only 6.2 million litres whilst the demand for milk stands at a staggering 65 million litres.
Pheko further said that there is generally poor performance of dairy cattle with below average daily milk production which results in low milk production and increased imports. He also says that there is a shortage of appropriate good quality dairy cattle in Botswana as a result of this most dairy cattle are imported at prohibitive prices.
To tackle the challenges he says that they have intensified training of farmers on husbandry, management record keeping, fodder production, and hygiene.
Initially the expectations are that the project by Lobatse Town Council and Milk Afric will resolve the problem of lack of adequate supply of milk in the country. Through a PPP, the two were to start a construction of a dairy farm in Lobatse with a total of 2000 dairy cows expected to be bought from Northern Cape. The project, it was reported will in its first two years create 250 jobs in the sleepy town.