Africa University 25th Graduation Ceremony
Dairy sector on a roll, as milk production surges 13pc

Edgar Vhera

Agriculture Specialist Writer

THE country continues to score significant successes in raw milk production with the national August intake rising 13 percent from 7,8 million litres last year to 8,8 million litres in the comparable month this year.

Statistics from Diary Services Unit (DSU) show that there has been an increase in milk production for the month of August from 7 817 615 litres last year to this year’s 8 815 674 litres.

A comparison of total milk production from January to August reveals that the volume increased seven percent from 59 012 176 litres in 2022 to 63 044 912 litres this year. 

Meanwhile, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Anxious Masuka recently told attendees at the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) annual general meeting (AGM) that Government would continue playing the facilitatory role of drawing more private players into the dairy sector.

“Issues such as that of land will be resolved through the issuance of 99-year leases, global compensation deed and land policy. Water tariffs being charged by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) are under discussion with the preservation of value high on the agenda,” he said. 

Other issues raised by the stakeholders were on financing, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), weather, the need to import maize, soyabean, availability of fuel in local currency that is being issued by Petrotrade, but administered through Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA).

Dr Masuka said power supply was improving irreversibly through Hwange Power Plant, Kariba and other thermal power stations.

“I expect milk production to surpass your forecast six percent increase to 101 million litres by year end,” he said.

The AGM was physically attended by 280 people with 120 participating virtually.

It had various presentations on investment choices, nutrition in relation to milk production, fertility, health and economics. It also touched on dairy insights into extension services and embracing research at farm level, breeding for dairy profit, effective calf rearing as well as pros and cons of cross breeding.

Lastly, it touched on the cost of mastitis and the national dairy herd health programme.

Recently, ZADF chief executive officer Mrs Paidamoyo Chadoka disclosed that there had been a marked increase in capacity utilisation from 40 percent in 2020 to the current 60 percent with some local processors exporting their products to regional markets.

“Approximately US$20 million investments across the dairy value chain (DVC) in 2022 have resulted in the country producing 91, 4 million litres of raw milk up from 79, 6 the previous year.  A total of 60 percent of the investment was channeled towards improving efficiency and capacity at processing level,” she said.

Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (LMAC), executive administrator Dr Reneth Mano recently said there was need for a properly structured dairy investment fund to provide loans to trained farmers.

“The dairy industry is in dire need of a properly structured dairy investment fund (DIF) to offer loans to trained and capacitated small to medium-scale dairy farmers. There is need for three-to-five-year group capital investment loans for increasing the number of crossbred dairy cows per farmer under the scheme to a minimum of five within the next three years,” he said.

The dairy industry plays a very critical role in the Zimbabwean economy through its positive exploitation of the forward and backward linkages between the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. Value chain players in the sector include input suppliers, milk producers, transporters, processors, wholesalers, retailers, and regulators, among other service providers. 

The country celebrated the World Milk Day (WMD) under the theme: “Showcasing how dairy is reducing its environmental footprint, while also providing nutritious foods and livelihoods” on June 1. 

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