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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Malawi moves to boost milk, beef production
by Edwin Nyirongo, 22 March 2006 - 05:38:22
Malawi has embarked on an ambitious plan to start manufacturing its own Urea Mineral Licking Block (UMLB), a supplement for feeding cattle to increase production of meat and milk.
UMLB contains proteins, minerals and carbohydrates, among other things, which are important for cattle growth.
Government, through the Ministry of Industry, Science and Technology, has started training business people interested in producing the feed for sale to cattle farmers.
So far three people—one from each of the country’s three regions: North, Central and South—have completed a five-day intensive training at Lunyangwa Agricultural Research Station in Mzuzu.
Industry, Science and Technology Minister Khumbo Chirwa, speaking when he closed the training session on Friday, said UMLB will increase milk production by about 10 percent. He said this will in turn create wealth among farmers.
“Minerals which are present in the block are used for bone formation, maintenance of acid-base equilibrium and as part of enzyme systems for
carrying out numerous biochemical functions in the body.
“The advantage for animals taking the Urea Mineral Licking Block is that it ensures early conception and decreases inter-calving intervals. It also
improves milk [production] by 6-10 percent,” he said.
The minister said he was aware that the UMLB, currently found at the Taifa Market in Mzuzu, are imported from Tanzania and wondered why the country imports such a simple-to-make product when most of the ingredients are available locally.
He urged the graduates to make use of the training and also market their products to farmers.
One of the graduates, Isaac Kazanga, said the training will not only benefit them but also farmers who will experience high yields due to the advanced
UMLB they will be producing.
“The technology will increase milk production and consumption, create jobs, reduce drainage of foreign exchange. There will also be general improvement in the health of livestock,” he said.
Other graduates are Dorothy Mhango from Mzuzu and Kamoza Sam Tembo from Blantyre.
The graduates were drilled in the role of livestock in Malawi, basic animal nutrition, factors affecting livestock production, Urea Mineral Block
ingredients, Urea Mineral Block quality standards issues and manufacturing.

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