Saturday, December 26, 2009

Increased duty excites milk producers

Twice, Michael Kasambwe woke up from some deep sleep, braced the cold weather so seasonal this time around- and so biting in this highland district of Thyolo- and, like a blooding hen, went round his kraal of 11 dairy cows. It was Friday, July 3, 2009.
It is the day new Finance Minister, Ken Kandodo, presented his maiden budget statement for Parliament appraisal.
Kasambwe says never in the history of national budgets has he been so intent to lean about the cats hidden in the customary black suitcases associated with Malawian Finance Ministers. He knows it is always on Fridays the statements are presented, though he doesn’t know why (Friday).
“I was interested in new measures to reverse the losses we, dairy farmers, have been incurring over the years. Milk processors have been shunning our milk, or, where they have accepted to buy from us, the prices have been exploitative,” said Kasambwe, one of the farmers affected by raw milk price fluctuations.
He has 11 dairy cows, only four of which are yielding milk at the moment. He gets an average 10 litres of milk per cow per day, he says, but has not been able to make ends meet in recent days due to low buying prices.
But that Friday, he saw his fortunes coming back; hence, twice, he remembers, he woke up to check on his cows’ safety.
This doesn’t surprise Philemon Kapinji

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