Zimbabwe’s raw milk production increased from 79,6 million litres in 2021 to 91,6 million litres in 2022, a rise of 14,3 percent and the increase has been a result of prudent policies and fruitful public-private partnerships.
In February 2023, Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement permanent secretary, Dr. John Basera told the Sunday Mail that imports of milk powder had declined by 17 percent in 2022, dropping from 8,9 million kilograms to 7,4 million kilograms.
He ascribed the increased production to appropriate interventions made by government, private sector and development partners.
“All these interventions and touch points are contained in the Livestock Recovery and Growth Plan, with deliberate programmes which focused on increasing the national dairy herd from 19 000 in 2021 to 29 000 in 2022. This included the state’s dairy heifer programme funded through the private sector,” he said.
The Zimbabwean dairy industry is still underperforming, as evidenced by a reduction in milk yield from 262 million liters in 1990 to less than 37 million liters in 2009 and now a steady increase to 82 million liters in 2021 and 96 million liters in 2022.
“Current demand for milk stands at 130 million liters, and there is a national capacity for processing 400 million liters per annum. The government has focused on the need for an inclusive and creatively organized dairy value chain to optimize stakeholder linkages and improve information flow and equity,” said Addmore Waniwa of the ministry of agriculture’s dairy services department.
Furthermore, the socio-economic effects which are profitability, women empowerment and employment creation, milk quality, safety and traceability issues linked to a better organized and performing dairy value chain were prioritized from 2019.
Initiatives boosting milk production
The Transforming Zimbabwe’s Dairy Value Chain for the Future (TranZDVC) project aimed to address the root causes of under-performance in the Dairy Value Chain (DVC) in Zimbabwe by strengthening the linkages between production, processing and financing.
In February 2020, TranZDVC outsourced 200 in-calf heifers from Eastern Cape in South African to help boost and improve Zimbabwe’s livestock genetics.
The first batch of 105 in-calf heifers arrived in Zimbabwe in April 2020 and the Integrators who include DenDairy, Nestle Zimbabwe and ProDairy were responsible for the distribution of the animals to selected small-scale dairy farmers through a heifer matching facility.
Dairy producers are also supported under the Command Silage Programme facilitated by the Agricultural Finance Corporation and CBZ Bank of Zimbabwe. The programme supports more than 1 500 smallholder dairy farmers with a standard input package comprising maize seed, basal fertiliser, and top-dressing fertiliser for one hectare of silage.
“Silage is a highly nutritious and affordable feed option which the government is promoting under the ‘own farm feed formulation’ programme that started in 2021,” Mr. Waniwa added.
The AFC commercial bank in Zimbabwe in 2022 supported the establishment of Mafuro Safari large scale dairy farm in Marondera which has also boosted milk production in the country.
The enterprise operates on a 200-hectare farm where a composite facility of US$1 million was put together to purchase heifers for milk production, as well as working capital for the running of the dairy farm.
Mafuro farm managed to build a dairy herd from the start to about 546 animals of which 75 were being milked, and it also acquired more land and launched phase two in June 2022.
The company managed to build a milking herd of 554 cows at the new farm. The total herd for the two farms grew to 1100 cows. The combined production at the two farms was 12 400 litres of milk per day translating to 372 000 litres a month.
Vangelis Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, said that the livestock sub-sector contributes to household and national food nutrition security, foreign currency earnings and is a source of livelihoods for a great number of Zimbabweans.
‘For this reason, the government is very keen on the dairy sector and has therefore continued to allocate resources and other forms of support to the dairy sector. The participation of all classes of dairy farmers from small scale to large scale supports the attainment of Vision 2030 through facilitating growth of the dairy sector by strengthening the Dairy Revitalization Programme and this is highly commendable,’ Haritatos said.
Approximately 30,000 people are reported by the ministry to be employed within the Dairy Value Chain sector and 13 000 people are further employed indirectly – Harare