THE Lesotho National Dairy Board (LNDB) will soon start training farmers to improve the quality of locally produced milk, chief executive officer (CEO) Abiel Mashale has said.
The trainings will be part of the LNDB’s drive to ensure that local farmers produce high quality milk.
Mr Mashale said this in an interview with the Sunday Express on Friday. He said the LNDB recently received new equipment which it purchased in China. The equipment is expected to help improve the quality of locally produced milk.
The machinery comprises of 19 milking machines, 112 milk cans, 66 milk buckets, and 111 strainers which all amounted to M414,483.
“LNDB is mandated to ensure that dairy products distributed and consumed in the country are fit for human consumption but for many years, we have not done that,” Mr Mashale said.
“In the past, we predominantly imported raw milk from South Africa. However, we have made efforts to increase local production starting in 2018 where we had an artificial insemination programme to improve the quality of milk cows.”
The artificial insemination programme has to date resulted in 1500 calves.
Lesotho stopped importing raw milk from South Africa last year.
Since 2019, the board has been assisting farmers in importing cows from South Africa and Mr Mashale said the time was now due to train farmers to enhance the quality of their milk given the increase in production.
He said several farmers were still milking their cows manually thereby risking compromising the quality of their produce.
“While there is nothing wrong with milking cows manually, there are factors like hygiene that must be considered as well as the time taken in milking.”
It is for this reason that last December the LNDB decided to purchase milking machines milk strainers, milking buckets and cans.
While milking using machines improves the quality of the milk, it also is time efficient, he said.
Mr Mashale said they would soon start training farmers how to handle milk properly to ensure maximum hygiene. Although no dates have been set yet, the training is expected help improve the quality of local milk and open export opportunities.