Space for Lactose Milk and Dairy Products in Zimbabwe

  • Written by Success Nkobi
  • Published in Agriconomy

As milk production increases so is the increase in the complaints that the taste of milk is changing. Gambling on the argument that factors affecting milk variation are due to the breed of the cows, stage of lactation, plane of nutrition, seasonal factors or the treatment of milk – pasteurization, sterilization, ultra-high treatment, and forth, doesn’t justify it enough.

Consumers long for the wholly thick milky taste that seems to be slowly vanishing from their taste buds, as the protein rich milk seems to get more and more watery by day. 

The concern is the nutritional content that we are actually getting from the different brands that we encounter on our shelves; is it adequate enough or we are just buying the white diluent colour of milk. Is there any effect on the nutritional value and quality of the milk?

Milk, a white liquid which is an emulsion of butterfat globules which is produced by the mammary glands of animals, in our daily consumption case is dairy cows. 

Milk makes a significant contribution to the required nutrient intakes for calcium, magnesium, selenium, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and pantothenic acid. 

Milk roughly contains 88% of water the remaining volume consisting of solids substances, therefore milk is a necessity in the diets of all consumers; hence considered a very important aspect in terms of trying to establish a balanced diet. 

This is because an adequate diet and nutrition are a necessity in body building, maintenance and protection against infectious and non-communicable diseases as well as prevention of undernourishment.

That being said I would like to zoom into the lactose intolerant population, who can’t enjoy milk like everyone else. 

The high price of lactose free milk is shocking, hence an exigently need a technology that will make the production of lactose free milk more affordable. 

As pricing is manly determined based on dairy processors, farmers, input cost and the profit margin of the product.

But just like insulin production was once onerous, it just proved that nothing is impossible.

This is a matter that can be taken lightly but most lactose intolerant people are totally eliminating milk in their diets and not even looking for an alternative to counter the nutrient deficit. 

And besides, calcium from dairy products has a greater bioavailability than calcium from vegetables, such as spinach, that contain high levels of calcium-chelating agents.

As Zimbabwe is an agro-economy, more people should venture into the business of milk production because not only does it aid in the health aspect but also in job creation for a wide range of professionals, which include food scientists, health inspectors, farmers, distributors, and so on. 

For milk production the following factors should be put into consideration; the expense of feeds and nutrient supplements, distance of the feed from the cattle, animal related diseases for example mastitis, climate change, distance from consumers, storage facilities, veterinary services, just to name a few. 

The health aspects of milk should be considered from farm-to-fork in order to ensure the safety of consumers and as well as to ensure the quality of milk, thus, everyone involved should take precautions. 

This basically means that special attention should be taken from the input suppliers, Producers, Processors, Consumers as well as the support services, that is, the dairy services, veterinary services, department of livestock production and development and Agritex.

Milk and milk products are generally on the top list for every consumer and as summer comes, ice cream becomes a very popular product in every person’s day to day life, most milk processors in ice cream production overlook the fact that a high population is suffering from hyper tension, diabetes, stroke, coronial heart disease. 

The probability that a person is suffering from either one or more of these diseases is very high especially in the population that is over 40. This fact creates a very big gap in the market as these are people who would avoid sugary food stuffs, so why not produce sugar- free ice cream just to accommodate this population. 

The same applies to yoghurt, why can’t yoghurt with artificial sugars be produced to accommodate those living with diabetes, in this way it is a win –win situation because the producers are happy as sales go up and the consumers are happy as this product will be a good option to their health. 

There is space for innovative farmers and dairy products processing companies in exploring lactose intolerant milk and milk products.

Sources: FAO