Senior Business Reporter
Dairy farmers in Zimbabwe produced 43,35 million litres in the first six months of 2022, representing an 18 percent rise on the corresponding period last year, official data shows.
In the first half of last year, milk output stood at 36,78 million litres.
The Government has continued to provide funding assistance and other forms of support, as part of measures to drive expansion of the dairy industry.
Latest figures from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development’s dairy services department show that milk intake by processors rose 17 percent to 38,96 million litres from 33.42 million litres in the comparative period.
Retailed milk by producers increased by 30 percent to 4,38 million litres from 3,36 million litres in the same period last year.
In June 2022, milk production surged 11,83 percent to 7,35 million litres from 6,58 million litres in the prior period. The volume, however, climbed 1 percent compared to the 7,31 million litres produced in May 2022.
Ernest Muzorewa, national chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF), told The Herald Business that, “Main drivers have been improved nutrition and increased herd from imported heifers and good management as result of farmer training programmes.”
ZADF will begin a local heifer breeding programme on July 19 to improve the genetic quality of the country’s milking herd and enhance current efforts to cut back on the importation of heifers.
On the other hand, through the Ministry of Land, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, the association is advocating for critical stakeholders and the technical team of the association to examine milk pricing.
Milk output in April this year stood at 7,21 million litres and March production came in higher at 7,34 million litres.
The February output of 6,73 million litres represents a 9 percent decrease from the 7,38 million litres produced in January. So far, January has produced the most.
The average monthly milk production for the period under review stood at 7,22 million litres, against 6,13 million litres in the comparable period last year.
Zimbabwe requires 120 million litres annually. Dairy farmers produced 79,6 million litres in 2021, representing a 4 percent increase from the 76,69 million litres produced in 2020. On a monthly basis, it requires about 10 million litres.
The excess demand is being met through powdered milk imports, mainly from neighbouring South Africa, by processors under a duty-free quota system to approved importers. In 2021 alone, Zimbabwe imported milk powder worth over US$33 million.