10 Nov 2015 19:10pm
GOBABIS, 10 NOV (NAMPA) - The dairy processing and packaging plant envisaged for the Omaheke Region could be a reality soon.
Omaheke Governor, Festus Ueitele told Nampa here on Friday that plans to establish the dairy factory are still 'alive and well', and the project could see the light of day in the near future.
Ueitele said preliminary studies done in Omaheke by experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) and the National Development Dairy Board of India have found the project to be viable.
Concept notes and project proposals detailing costs of about N.dollars 6 million have been submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture and are awaiting funding as to enable our farmers to diversify their farming activities, he said.
Three pilot sites were identified for the project at Otjinene, Tsjaka (50 kilometres south of Gobabis) and Epukiro.
At present, and although the project is yet to start, about 10 families are currently selling milk, cultured milk (omaere) and traditional butter, Ueitele said.
The governor said such activities are testimony to the region's ability as a milk-producing hub.
A team of experts in the dairy industry from India, which was in the country during the early stages of the project in 2013, expressed satisfaction with the developments made with regards to the project.
Special Advisor to the Omaheke Regional Governor, Pio Nganate, who is also the chairperson of the interim committee steering activities pertaining to the project, said earlier they are also considering by-products of milk as a side business venture.
Such products include cultured milk (omaere), yoghurt, cheese and cream, amongst other things.
We are open to business proposals for any by-product of milk so as to allow the factory to have a greater impact on the communities, as opposed to only packaging milk, he said.
Ueitele, accompanied by farmers and other experts in the dairy field, travelled to India last year to familiarise themselves with dairy production in that country, at the invitation of the country's National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
The NDDB of India is known for the production and processing of milk through Amul-Anand, the world's largest milk brand. Considered a hub for livestock farming and being known as Cattle Country, Omaheke became ideal as host region for this venture.
With more than 600 000 heads of cattle and where 60 per cent of the inhabitants are livestock farmers, the region is well placed to establish a dairy project.
The project is expected to cost N.dollars 6 million during its initial stages.