Earlier today I attended the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s World Milk Day 2023 celebrations at Elsenburg.
World Milk Day was established in 2001 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations to recognize the importance of milk as a global food. In addition, the day is intended to provide an opportunity to bring attention to activities connected with the dairy sector. This year’s theme is how dairy is reducing its environmental footprint, while also providing nutritious foods and livelihoods.
The Western Cape Department of Agriculture developed the SmartAgri plan in 2016, which is currently being implemented to ensure a climate change-resilient agricultural sector. In addition, the research efforts at the Outeniqua farm also focus on developing climate-smart practices and production methods.
While the number of producers in South Africa has declined by 46% from January 2015 to January 2022, milk production has increased by 7.2%. This indicates increased output per cow and more significant numbers of cows per producer, to name but a few reasons. Western Cape is home to 33% of the milk producers in South Africa. They are responsible for 30.6% or 1 041 349 tonnes of the country’s fresh milk production, followed by our sister coastal provinces of Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal. At an average milk price at the farm gate of R7.50/kg, it equates to more than R7.81 billion in the province, at the primary producer level alone.
Of the more than 1 million tonnes of milk produced in the Western Cape, 62% is sold in liquid form as fresh, flavoured or long-life milk. The remaining 38% is processed into concentrated products such as custard, yoghurt, and a great variety of cheeses, amongst other products. As a result, dairy product value-add plays a significant role in sustainable job creation.
The industry has noted that the Producer Price Index (PPI) for dairy products in South Africa went up by 21% during the period January 2021 to March 2022. Whereas for unprocessed milk it increased by 27% and the consumer price index for milk and cheese went up by 15%.
Annual World Milk Day provides the perfect opportunity to spread the word that milk is an integral part of a healthy balanced diet and express our gratitude to our milk producers, agri-workers and agri-businesses for working tirelessly to make milk accessible to our consumers.
Spokesperson for Minister Ivan Meyer
Tel: 079 990 4231