Milk Shortage Hits Namibian Shelves

While the local supply of raw milk remains depressed, Namibia Dairies says it has managed to implement numerous initiatives to address the current market dynamics.

The company was responding to numerous complaints and concerns about the shortage of various dairy products and especially long-life full cream milk in local shops. Amidst growing public discontent, Nammilk this week launched a promotion campaign ‘The Nammilk Way’ to inform consumers of the good quality and nutritional value of locally produced milk. Roux-Che Locke, who is the group manager of external relations of the Ohlthaver and List Group of Companies that owns Namibia Dairies, said the depressed raw milk supply was due to the drought experienced last year. However, she said the absence of certain milk types on the shelves would soon be something of the past. She assured consumers that the Namibian dairy industry is committed to delivering the best quality milk, adding that Namibia Dairies is confident that with the necessary support the company can develop a sustainable dairy industry to meet the needs of local consumers. Chairperson of the Namibia Dairy Producers Association (NDPA), Japie Engelbrecht, told New Era on the eve of the organisation’s annual Dairy Producer of the Year Awards that will take place on 21 July at Xain Quis in Gobabis, that it could take the industry up to two years to recover fully from the drought setbacks of 2013, which resulted in the local market being flooded with imported milk products.

Government intervened and limited the amount of imported milk products earlier this year after local producers were embroiled in a battle against low prices of imported milk products from South Africa. Government was then confronted in a court case which it lost and immediately appealed against the ruling. The appeal case is pending.

Engelbrecht said the 2013 drought severely affected dairy producers as fodder for all producers were hard to come by while prices for these products shot up drastically. “Apart from that, local producers found it tough to sell their products because of the cheaper South African equivalents on our supermarket shelves with some of them selling for the same price as in South Africa, with no transport fees added,” he lamented.

Engelbrecht said local producers remain constantly under pressure to produce cheaper products but they have no control over the price consumers pay at the counter. “My aice is to support retailers that sell Namibian milk products at the lowest prices. I am fully aware of international trade agreements but I cannot understand how foreigners who don’t own a single cow, don’t produce a single litre of milk on Namibian soil and create no employment can be allowed to bring the local industry to its knees.”

Source : New Era

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