Shaping the Future of Mozambique’s Dairy Sector
Local milk production, processing and retailing is a growing industry in central Mozambique, where 15 processors and five cooperatives deliver 3.7 million liters of milk products each year. There are several barriers, however, that inhibit the dairy industry’s growth and expansion. One is the lack of relevant and updated policies and regulatory frameworks to promote sector growth and create an enabling environment.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-funded Mozambique Expansion of Rural Cattle and Dairy Opportunities (MERCADO) project, implemented by Land O’Lakes Venture37 (Venture37), aims to increase the agricultural productivity of the Mozambican dairy sector and expand the trade of Mozambican dairy products. To address policy and regulatory needs, the project has achieved great success in bringing key government-, national-, provincial- and district-level stakeholders together to promote effective solutions and reforms.
One of the project’s key activities, focused on capacity building to promote improved policy and regulatory frameworks, was designed to bring key stakeholders and government officials together to examine the current policy and regulatory frameworks, identify barriers to dairy sector growth and develop recommendations. The recommendations inform project efforts, including review and adoption of sector-specific policies, legislation and regulations, and capacity building and networking needs and opportunities for key government staff and dairy value chain actors to increase their ability to strengthen the Mozambican dairy sector.
Results and outcomes
A special study on "Barriers to Growth for the Dairy Sector" was completed in the early stages of the project. From this study, crucial barriers to dairy sector growth were identified and an action plan was developed to bring solutions. Through engagement with the National Directorate of Livestock Development (Direcção Nacional de Desenvolvimento Pecuário (DNDP)), of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, it was recognized that government services and the MERCADO project needed to collaborate closely to ensure success. Government-appointed dairy focal points were selected to oversee dairy-related activities at the national, provincial and district levels and aided in facilitating engagement between the private sector, civil society and government services. Having the ability to collaborate seamlessly with the government, especially the DNDP, the project was able to support the drafting of one piece of legislation and two regulations. The policies set appropriate health and feed standards for the livestock sector and established a much-needed regulation on raw milk collection, refrigeration, transportation and sale. The drafts are currently awaiting final parliamentary and ministerial approval and, once adopted, will be an important first step in modernizing the legal frameworks. Bringing it in congruence with regional and international standards will facilitate an increase in both the internal and external trade of products.
The MERCADO project also worked to create capacity building and networking opportunities for stakeholders at local, regional and international levels. The goal of this component was to expand the understanding of the dairy sector and establish relevant links and business opportunities within the sector. The project was successful in creating a presence at key local and regional events such as agribusiness fairs, Labor Day parades, business conferences and the Mozambique Agro-Livestock, Commercial and Industrial Fair (Feira Agro-Pecuária, Comercial e Industrial de Moçambique (FACIM)). All events were attended in partnership with model farmers and processors who had the opportunity to advertise and sell their products as well as exchange experiences and contacts with other dairy sector actors. The project also supported a technical exchange visit to the Zambia Dairy Industry to learn from Zambia’s successful quality standard improvements and policy strategies for promoting and protecting the dairy industry. The exchange participants included national and provincial government representatives, dairy cooperative representatives and Venture37 staff. The learning trip helped build and harness momentum amongst government leaders toward drafting a national dairy strategy.
Through engagement with the government of Mozambique, the private sector and cooperatives, it was agreed that a national dairy strategy was needed to guide future dairy investments, define a national representative body and support the promotion of improved national and local dairy policy and regulatory frameworks. MERCADO has led this initiative and has facilitated the registration of a provincial dairy union in Manica and Sofala, the main dairy basins in the country that provide 66.4% of the national milk production. Additionally, the government has taken the lead on drafting the national dairy strategy and bringing stakeholders together to discuss it.
In November 2020, MERCADO hosted a seminar in Beira City to review a key dairy value chain study and validate a draft of the national strategy for the development of the dairy sector. Over 30 participants eagerly attended the seminar; the number would have been greater but was limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. Members of the National Directorate of Livestock Development, the National Directorate of Livestock Health and Biosecurity, Provincial Services of Economic Activities, Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and Fisheries of Manica and Sofala provinces, district delegates, dairy farmers and processors were in attendance.
On Jan. 28, 2021, a follow-on seminar took place at the Ministry of Agriculture. The aim of the seminar was to disseminate the results of work carried out by the multisectoral teams and actors involved in the national dairy strategy. It also acted as a final opportunity for other interested sector actors to provide input. The national director of livestock development, Américo Manuel da Conceição, gave the inaugural speech and informed attendees that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is extremely satisfied and motivated with the review of the dairy sector regulatory policy frameworks. He expressed a word of appreciation for Land O´Lakes Venture37 and the support they provided to the government in doing this review. He further noted that MERCADO’s work in reviewing and updating regulatory frameworks, identifying barriers and creating conditions for improving the business environment will lead to increased production and improved quality of dairy products, which may increase the industries' appeal and reduce imports.
MERCADO’s success in bringing key stakeholders together to discuss policy reforms is exceptional. Effective advocacy has contributed significantly towards modernizing the dairy industries' legal framework and is enabling the sector to take steps to become a viable competitor in local and regional markets. These changes are creating a conducive environment for future investments and have laid a solid foundation for the continued growth of Mozambique’s dairy industry.
This post was written by Fidel O´Donovan, chief of party, MERCADO, with Christina Licari and Gretchen Hanson, Land O´Lakes Venture37.