Luthando Mapepa Manicaland Correspondent
Dairy farmers have projected a 15 percent growth in production this year to 86 million litres from 75,4 million last year.
The Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) says it is focused on the implementation of its strategic plan with a vision of doubling national milk production at the right quality and price by 2022.
The association is also seeking to collaborate with relevant policy makers and stakeholders who support the implementation of the plan.
Speaking during the handover ceremony of tonnes of diary stockfeeds and bicycles to diary farmers who were affected by Cyclone Idai at Rusitu diary farmers headquarters in Chipinge recently, ZADF chairperson Mr Kudzai Chirima said there were positive indications that volume of milk produced by local diary farmers was on the increase.
“The national milk volume of 75,4 million litres was achieved in 2018 and 86 million litres are projected for 2019 as there is a 15 percent growth target.
“The first half year had a 14 percent milk growth compared to the same period last year,” he said.
Mr Chirima said the association would offer support to farmers who lost their dairy cattle during the devastating Cyclone Idai early this year.
“The dairy farmers in Chipinge were most affected, especially the Rusitu area small-scale dairy farmers,” he said.
“At the time of the cyclone, the roads were affected and milk collection failed for a few days. Approximately 50 dairy cattle died, mainly calves, during this challenge in the Rusitu.
“Most commercial farmers had almost completed their silage cutting, so the loss was controlled. We will continue assisting those affected farmers so that they will rise again.”
Speaking at the same event, Minister of State for Manicaland Province Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba commended the partnership between small-scale dairy farmers and large-scale farmers to enhance milk volumes.
“I commend the collaborations between the large and small-scale dairy farmers here in Chipinge. May these relationships be enhanced for the benefit of growing the dairy industry in Zimbabwe,” she said.
“I also appreciate Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers for assisting the Chipinge farmers to access fuel during this challenging period when the local fuel stations had been affected by the cyclone, making it impossible to trade fuel in Chipinge. Today we have witnessed the donation of dairy stockfeed and bicycles to you the small-scale dairy farmers in Chipinge by your mother body, showing that it is sensitive to challenges dairy farmers encounter.”