Zim on course to attain milk target

July 21, 2022

RYAN CHIGOCHE

 

Government is confident that this year’s milk production  target of 90m litres  will be achieved on the back of favourable weather conditions as well as enough reserve feeds.

So far, Zimbabwe has recorded 43.3m  litres, an 18% increase from 36.7m litres achieved in the prior comparative period.

A Dairy Services Unit officer in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Settlement, Addmore Waniwa told Business Times that the country was on course to achieve the target.

“We got a lot of packages for farmers for fodder production, for  example  the presidential inputs for pasture and silage. There is also  an increase in the herd under the European Union dairy project  which brought about 500 heifers.  So, we expect more volumes from there. The current dry weather is okay as animals will be productive as wet conditions affect their productivity through stress,’’  Waniwa said.

He added: “For the remaining part of the year we think we will continue on that growth trend. So we should get a bit more volume in the third quarter or so because we are now using feed stocks which were prepared during the rainy season. So we are confident that we will be able to  continue that upward trajectory and achieve more than 90m litres of milk  for the year.’’

Zimbabwe’s annual demand for milk stands at 120m litres. But, for decades, the country has been failing to meet the demand.

However, under the livestock and recovery growth plan, milk production is expected to surpass demand  and reach 150m litres while the dairy herd is anticipated to grow from the current  47 825  to 60 000 by 2025.

Recently the government implored small scale farmers to embrace silage and pasture production to boost milk production amid shortages of the product in the market.

There is an urgent need to increase output since Zimbabwe is experiencing a scarcity of milk and milk products. Some merchants have gone for a month without fresh milk.

Currently the government  is training dairy farmers on capacity building and a nutritionist is currently going around the country working  with the farmers to improve their feed formulation using available resources on the farm.

The main aim of this is to cut costs from the feed bill because currently the feed cost bill is accounting for a higher percentage of the production costs.

 

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