The Lesotho National Dairy Board (LNDB) commemorated this year’s World Milk Day by opening a new milk collection centre in Ha Maama, Maseru district.
During this event, the LNDB’s chief executive officer, Abiel Mashale emphasised a need to scale up domestic milk production to reduce the country’s dependence on milk imports.
Mashale said Lesotho imports large amounts of raw milk processed locally to meet the country’s dairy needs.
The commemoration was also joined by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the Smallholder Agriculture Development Programme (SADP II) representatives, as well as farmers among other dairy stakeholders.
“As LNDB, we are tired of taking money to South Africa to buy dairy imports,” Mashale said.
Apart from importing raw milk, Lesotho has also been buying dairy cows from South Africa to improve the quality and quantity of its dairy production, but Mashale wants this to also stop.
“We have started by not buying dairy cows from South Africa. We have our own veterinary service office that is going to help our farmers with proper methods of looking after their dairy cows to help improve the current situation.”
He said they also have a laboratory to test dairy products before they get to the market.
“As LNDB, we have trained milk producers and processors to produce butter, yoghurt, cheese, and sour milk in the country. I would therefore like to plead with all Basotho to support these producers by buying their products because they are produced locally.”
Mokhethi Shelile, who stood in for the Minister of Agriculture, Food Security, and Nutrition, Thabo Mofosi, also stressed that Lesotho’s reliance on South Africa for dairy imports should be addressed.
He said the agriculture ministry is responsible for ensuring that dairy production in the country is scaled up to benefit producers and the economy.
“We always buy products from South Africa and this should stop. We should work hard together to decrease imports from SA and that will only be possible if we continue producing and forging collaborations.”
Lesotho National Farmers Union (LENAFU) representative ‘Mamokoena Noosi stated they were also helping dairy farmers with feeding.
“As LENAFU we are now working together with Maloti Maintain Brewery (MMB) to help farmers to feed their dairy cows. And we are aware that our country is behind based on the production of milk and selling it, and we like to call on everyone willing to help,” Noosi said.