Milk production to exceed 100 million litres

Precious Manomano Herald Reporter

Milk production is expected to exceed 100 million litres this year as compared to 91 million litres produced last season as the Government continues to provide assistance and other support but Zimbabwe still needs to import to meet the initial target of 150 million litres.

Latest figures from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development’s dairy services department indicated that farmers have produced 81 million litres since the beginning of the year compared to 91 million litres which was produced in the whole of last year.

Milk intake by processors also rose to 74 million litres from 67 million litres last year.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Professor Obert Jiri said statistics signify the Government’s thrust for import substitution and growth in the dairy sector.

Milk production has been increasing as more farmers have taken up dairy farming, amid growing support from the Government, while the national herd has been supplemented with imported heifers to accelerate growth from the local breeding stock.

Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) Mashonaland West Region vice chairman Mr Cloudious Burira said this year a target of over 100 million litres is inevitable following various measures implemented by the Government to boost production.

”We are targeting more milk this season but the weather is not currently good for milk production. Milk production was raised high by the little rains which we received a few weeks ago. The European Union donor fund also played a critical role in uplifting milk production. Field officers went to all regions educating farmers on ways to boost milk production. We were also educated on how to prepare farm feed formula,’’ he said.

He said these are some of the interventions that the private sector and the Government are undertaking to boost the sector.

The dairy heifer growth is funded by the Dairy Development Fund, which entails expanding the dairy herd from about 19 000 dairy herd to about 25 000.

The Presidential Silage Programme targeted 1 500 smallholder dairy farmers with a standard input package for one-hectare silage for each household of dairy farmers to help improve productivity in the dairy sub-sector.

Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union economist Ms Nyasha Taderera recently indicated that the improvement made so far in the dairy sector is a positive step towards the growth of the dairy industry.

“This is a positive step towards improvement of the dairy sector. There will be a reduction in the import of milk powders from South Africa. This also shows that milk consumption in the country will increase and there will be more investors in the dairy industry,” she said.

Under the livestock and recovery growth plan, milk production is intended to rise to 150 million litres, and increase the dairy herd from 39 980 to 60 000 by 2025.

About US$75 million is required to fully revitalise the sector

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