Raw milk production soars against dropping imports
Edgar Vhera Agriculture Specialist Writer
RAW milk production is responding positively to the raft of measures the country is rolling out to boost the dairy sector’s performance with the first ten months of the year recording 81 million litres of milk while dairy product imports continue to drop on the other hand.
Statistics from Diary Services Unit (DSU) show that there had been a nine percent increase in total milk production over the period January to October from 74 430 341 litres in 2022 to 80 988 345 this year.
On a monthly basis there has been a 11 percent increase in milk production for the month of October from 8 143 977 litres in 2022 to 9 073 809 in the comparable month this year.
Monthly milk production figures over the period January to October this year have eclipsed the 2022 values by percentages of between two and 13.
Transforming Zimbabwe’s Dairy Value Chain for the Future (TranZDVC) Project Coordinator Dr Edison Chifamba yesterday said milk production will be between 100 and 105 million litres to surpass last year’s 91 million by year end.
“We are optimistic that our national raw milk production will be between 100 and 105 million litres by year end, while in 2024 we hope to reach 120 million as we march towards the 2025 target of 150 million litres,” he said.
If the country achieves the above set targets, it would have managed a 15 percent growth this year, another 15 percent next year and 25 percent in 2025.
In spite of challenges like high feed costs that are bedevilling the dairy sector, Dr Chifamba was optimistic the country would meet its raw milk needs by 2025, as a lot of farmers have been importing dairy animals most of which will come into production in the coming months.
Dairy Processors Association of Zimbabwe (DPAZ) Secretary General Mrs Tendayi Clementine Marecha recently said raw milk production was expected to increase to about 103 million litres by year end.
She said capacity utilisation at processing level had increased from 40 percent in 2020 to the current 55 while milk productivity had increased 15 percent from 13 litres per cow per day in 2020 to the current 15.
Mrs Marecha lamented the lack of one-stop-shop to process import and export documentation, pre-shipping inspections and that the taxation of raw materials, which all increase cost of production thereby compromising the products’ competitiveness on the market.
Dairy Services Unit’s Principal Dairy Officer Mr Addmore Waniwa said the dairy sector continued to be saddled with challenges like high production costs, low level productivity and low dairy herd size and quality.
Meanwhile, as the country continues to implement the import substitution policy through enhanced local production, imports of dairy products have been on the decline.
Statistics from Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStats) show that dairy product imports declined 24 percent from 7 295 241 kilogrammes over the period January to October 2022 to 5 533 130 over the same period this year.
In value terms dairy products imports dropped 14 percent from US$ 23 827 047 to US$ 20 465 770.
Dairy products imported by the country include various forms of milk and cream, yogurt, buttermilk, ice cream, whey, butter and different kinds of cheese.