Zim raw milk output bubbles
Zimbabwe’s raw milk production increased by 10,13 percent in January 2023 to 8,14 million litres compared to 7,39 million litres achieved in the same period last year, latest official statistics show.
The country’s monthly milk requirement stands at about 10 million litres. To cover the shortfall, raw milk supplies are being supplemented through imports.
Figures from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development’s dairy services department show that raw milk intake by processors grew by 13,19 percent to 7,53 million litres from 6,65 million litres in the comparable period last year.
On the other hand, raw milk sold by producers declined by 17,41 percent to 609 577 litres from 738 078 litres in the same prior period.
Zimbabwe’s raw milk production rose by 15 percent to 91,31 million litres in 2022 from 79,6 million litres realised in 2021.
This was attributed to the impact, over the years, of importation of heifers through private and public sector initiatives and local breeding through artificial insemination techniques, with an emphasis on the use of sexed semen from dairy bulls. Ernest Muzorewa, national chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF), told The Herald Business & Finance that, the “Main drivers (of milk production) have been improved nutrition and increased herd from imported heifers and good management as a result of farmer training programmes.”
ZADF began the local heifer breeding programme on July 19, 2022, as part of nationwide measures to improve the genetic quality of the country’s milking herd and supplement current efforts to cut back on the importation of heifers.
According to Muzorewa, the annual raw milk production target for 2023 is expected to see output increase by 20 percent to 108 million litres.
Zimbabwe’s raw milk production has reached 76 percent of the annual requirement, with the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) believing the country is on its way to milk sustainability.
The Government has continued to provide funding and other forms of support since it is particularly interested in the expansion of the dairy industry to ensure domestic self-sufficiency.
“The increase is to be achieved through promoting on-farm feed production and formulation in order to augment nutrition and reduce costs, and also to promote improved efficiency at farm level,” he said.
Efficient utilisation of the funding availed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development from proceeds of the 5 per cent levy on imported dairy products is also seen as helping to boost local raw milk production in order to move towards sustainable self-sufficiency.
Incentives to promote the dairy include the presidential and command silage schemes as well as subsidised Semen through the Transforming Zimbabwe’s Dairy Value Chain for the Future (TranZDVC) project.
Zimbabwe requires 120 million litres of raw milk annually. As more farmers enter the dairy industry and the national herd has been augmented through imported heifers, raw milk production has been rising.
December milk output rose 9,45 percent to 8.32 million litres, compared to 7,6 million litres in December 2021. At 8,32 million litres, it ranked as the highest monthly milk output in 2022 followed by October’s milk output of 8,14 million litres.
The average milk output for 2022 and 2021 stood at 7,61 million litres and 6,63 million litres respectively.
For the first time in history, the country produced 8 million litres of milk per month from 2004 to 2005.
The country’s dairy industry however faces a plethora of challenges, which include high production and processing costs, a lack of bankable security of land tenure, limited access to affordable finance and foreign currency, and a high compliance cost.