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Farmers eye double milk output by 2022

Farmers eye double milk output by 2022

 

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Lovemore Zigara, Midlands Correspondent
DAIRY farmers have set themselves a target to double milk production by 2022 from the current levels.

The country has been averaging between 45 million and 55 million litres of milk per year over the last three years, according to official statistics.

This is against a national demand of 120 million litres of milk per annum, which has resulted in the deficit being offset by imports.

Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) Midlands chapter president, Mr Edward Warambwa, says to achieve the target, the association has embarked on a number of initiatives among them increasing the national dairy herd.

“We are targeting that by 2022 we would have doubled the volume of milk and so we have put down a number of things so that we achieve our objective. One such is the stability on dairy farms, calf rearing, importation of sexed semen and even importation of other dairy cows,” he said.

In the past ZADF and the Zimbabwe Dairy Industrial Trust (ZDIT) facilitated the importation of dairy cows under the Dairy Revitalisation Programme (DRP) banner where levies on imported dairy products are channelled to increasing herd numbers by capacity building of small scale milk production centres.

In 2016, close to 100 small scale dairy farmers benefited from the programme, which saw 220 dairy cows being distributed.

To ensure stabilisation on the farms, Government has also come in and warned illegal settlers to move out of farms. The State has also spared dairy farms from compulsory land acquisition under the Land Reform Programme.

Recently, Midlands Minister of State Cde Owen Ncube said Government was going to ensure that there is increased production on dairy farms by giving back some of the land to dairy farmers, which had been previously been acquired from them. It is estimated that the dairy sector is operating at about 45 percent capacity, with an estimated 223 registered dairy operators and a total dairy herd of about 26 000 animals battling to meet demand.

National milk production increased from 150 million litres in 1980, peaking at 256 million litres in 1990 before plummeting to an all-time low of 36 million litres in 2009.

The country has a potential to process 400 million litres of milk per year.

@lavuzigara1

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