In a move aimed at raising milk consumption in the country, the Tanzania Dairy Board (TDB) has organised a milk sensitisation week to be held in Moshi, Kilimanjaro Region later this month.
According to a statement issued by the board in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the sensitization week will start on May 29 and end on June 1.
The theme of this year is: “Improve Economy, Nutrition Makes Milk to be one of District’s main Produce”.
Some of the activities to be carried out during the week include a meeting, by milk producing stakeholders, training and milk demonstrations.
However milk experts urge the government and producers to come up with strategic plans to increase the rate of milk consumption in the country which has the lowest standing in East Africa.
It is estimated that one person takes on average 43 litres of milk, raw or processed, every year, as against the World Health Organisation recommended average of 200 litres
There is a need to change people's attitude towards milk drinking, hence make them use the stuff as a common drink such as soda or juice, said Said Kasyanju.
Milk drinking has many benefits to human health including strengthening bones, check weight loss and improve cardiovascular and cancer prevention.
He said unfavourably milk drinking habit was partly caused by unfaithful traders who mix it with water in order to maximise profit.
But he advised people to drink milk which has been processed and packed hygienically.
Kelvin Mosha, who is a milk producing stakeholder, said there was a need to address the challenges facing the diary industry.
He outlined them as milking parlours, personnel hygiene, clothing, medical checks and milk handling equipment.
Others are insufficient extension or advisory services to dairy farmers and training for dairy farms management, inadequate clean water supply and low productivity.
Other more are limited registration of stock and tracking of breeding programmes.
Despite having millions of cattle, goats and sheep, Tanzania has failed to tap the dairy market.
The country has about 21.3 million cattle 90 percent of which are of indigenous types. It is estimated that annual milk production stands at over 1 billion litres but the rate of milk drinking among Tanzanians is very low.
Currently, dairy sector contribute 3.8 percent to the GDP, of which 40 percent comes from beef and 30 percent from dairy, while 30 percent is from other stock.