Africa-Press – Eswatini. Minister of Agriculture Jabulani Mabuza has said the country spends millions of Emalangeni importing dairy products as the local demand is still higher than what is produced.
The minister has recommended capacity building of farmers and all stakeholders who venture into agribusiness.He said this during the graduation ceremony for dairy farmers held at Happy Valley Hotel yesterday.
Mabuza said they were delighted to see that the Eswatini Dairy Board had continued with this objective and had also increased the scope of this training programme to include other areas within the dairy industry. “Today’s graduates are urged to venture into the industry and make a positive impact towards the country’s goals of achieving dairy self-sufficiency and the expansion of value addition activities,” he said.
“I task this group to make a substantial contribution towards addressing some of the challenges faced by the industry,” the minister stated. He further urged the graduates to be part of the growing network for dairy industry players in the country.
He mentioned that the industry had a great potential for development as there were various opportunities yet to be explored.
“The millions of Emalangeni spent on imports could be used to grow investments in the local industry to benefit the country’s economy,” he said.
Mabuza also stated that the dairy industry had a lot of manufacturing opportunities at both the local and at an industry level and this was one of the reasons that as a ministry, through the Board, they were encouraged to continue working harder to create an enabling environment for the success of dairy entrepreneurs in the country to harness these opportunities.
“We also extend our appreciation to the industry players who still soldier on despite the challenges they face in running their businesses,” he said.
He explained that his ministry understood that the foundation for sustainable development was in capacity building, which was why he urged the graduates to make full use of these valuable skills in their dairy enterprises.
“I also urge you to continue consulting Eswatini Dairy Board and the ministry of agriculture officers as you run your dairy businesses for advice in production and management,” he said. Mabuza further commended Eswatini Dairy Board for continuing with the dairy industry in the country. He said all this would contribute towards the industry, including availing top quality animals and provision of efficient artificial insemination services.
Mabuza further mentioned that the Board in conjunction with the ministry would together look into all the challenges faced by the dairy industry and assist stakeholders in reaching sustainable production that will reduce the reliance on imports of dairy animals and dairy products.
“The Board has also been tasked with promoted goat milk production to increase overall milk production in the country,” he said. He said he was also delighted that among the graduates there were those who were trained on dairy goats’ management as this was also one enterprise that has a growing stable market locally and abroad.