Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Correspondent
Milk producers in the country have increased milk production by 4 million litres from last year despite numerous challenges.
In an interview, Midlands dairy farmers’ chairperson Mr Douglas Msipa said dairy farmers in the country were now producing 150 million litres against a demand of 180 million per year.
Zimbabwe is importing about 30 million litres from South Africa to supplement local milk supplies.
Mr Msipa said milk production hadimproved since last year despite the poor rainfall received in the last summer cropping season which resulted in poor pastures.
“We improved on milk production by about 4 million litres this year compared to last year. This is despite the scarcity of pastures which we believed resulted from poor rains that we received last year. If our farmers benefit from Command Dairy, we have no doubt that we will meet the national demand and reduce the Government’s import bill,” he said.
Mr Msipa said Government had asked dairy farmers to submit a proposal to be incorporated into the Command Dairy in an endeavour to increase Zimbabwe’s milk production as well as reduce the country’s import bill.
He said the Zimbabwe Dairy Farmers’ Association was in the process of coming up with a proposal at the behest of Government so that dairy farmers would be incorporated into the Command Agriculture scheme that was tailor made to avert hunger and ensure food security at national level.
Mr Msipa said dairy farmers were making frantic efforts to ensure that they met the national annual milk demand.
He said the farmers had made significant strides in dairy farming.
“Government has helped us in so many ways before. We know there is a policy to spare dairy farms from the land redistribution exercise. This time Government has asked to submit a proposal so that we will be incorporated into the Command Agriculture (programme). We understand Government wants to introduce Command Dairy which will help us enhance productivity.
“We have a national demand of 180 million litres of milk against our collective production capacity of 150 million litres per year. The Midlands province produces eight million litres per month and is one of the largest milk producers in the country,” he said.