Zimbabwe milk output increases to 52.51 mln litres in 8 months to August

Published: 02 October 2019
Zimbabwe's raw milk production in the first 8 months to August rose 10% to 52.51 million litres from 47.84 million litres recorded in the same period last year. However, the output is still 56% below the country's annual requirement of 120 million litres.
Latest data from the Ministry of Agriculture's dairy services department shows that milk intake by processors increased by 11% to 47.7 million litres from 42.95 million litres in the comparable period in 2018. However, retailed milk by producers marginally declined by 2 percentage points from 4.89 million litres recorded in the prior period last year to 4.81 million litres.

In August 2019, raw milk production surged by 3 percentage points to 6.97 million litres compared to 6.77 million litres in the previous period. August output at 6.97 million litres is the highest so far followed by July output at 6.76 million litres. However, February output is ranked the lowest at 5.95 million litres – largely attributed to the prevailing drought.
In 2018, the dairy sector surpassed the southern African nation's annual estimates, rising by 13.61% to 75.42 million litres when compared to 66.38 million litres reported in 2017. The country's raw milk production was projected to grow by an average of 12% in 2018. However, despite surpassing the average growth last year, Zimbabwe's milk output was 38% below the national demand, with the gap being covered through imports. Milk production in the country is estimated to rise to between 97 million to 100 million litres per annum starting this year.
Recently, the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) chairperson Kudzai Chirima said that the industry's potential has been weighed down by drought which has affected the availability of stock feeds
"We hope that the rains would come early this year so that we can be able to meet our target."
Milk production levels in Zimbabwe plummeted dramatically from the early 1990s peak of 260 million litres. The country's milk output has averaged between 45 million and 60 million litres of milk per year in the past few years, a figure still far below the national demand of 120 million litres of milk per annum.
Zimbabwe's milk output has been consistently going up since the introduction of the Dairy Revitalisation Programme (DRP) in 2014. The southern African nation used to import 3 million litres of milk per month to cover for the shortfall in national production whose demand was 8 million litres against the 5 million litres the country's dairy sector was producing prior to the launch of DRP.
The European Union (EU) is also supporting a four-year equipment and infrastructure initiative targeting dairy farmers under the Zimbabwe Agriculture Growth programme funded to the tune of about €2.1 million. The program will see at least 1 000 in-calf dairy heifers being distributed to farmers on a revolving basis, while at least 4 000 farmers will be capacitated.
With lack of funding singled out as a major threat to the milk production, Government has since partnered the private sector in the implementation of a comprehensive strategy to boost milk production in the country, with the cow herd poised to grow to around 30 000 cows by 2022.
The dairy sector in Zimbabwe still faces several obstacles such as high cost of production, inefficient production systems and the unavailability of long-term funding. In addition, factors such as shortage of water and stock feeds as well as erratic rains also impact negatively on production. This year, experts say, there is also going to be limited supply of stock feed due to insufficient rains with most farmers not irrigating. To make matters worse for the sector, prices for the veterinary drugs have gone up.
The current herd size is estimated at 28 000 cows (with an estimated 14 000 in milk) down from the 1990s peak of about 122 000 cows. In addition to low herd sizes, milk yield per cow remains low, especially among smallholder producers owing to poor management at farmer level, poor breeding practices and lack of finance among other factors.
In the past few years, according to the ZADF, Zimbabwe has been importing "embryos" from the neighboring South Africa in order to increase the national herd.
Zimbabwe imports about 30 million litres from South Africa to supplement local milk supplies. The treasury, suspended importation duty on milk equipment for a period of a further 12 months, in order to augment insufficient domestic production of raw milk. This year, imports of milk and milk-based products is projected to decline by 37% to US$29 million from US$46 million previously, backed by an anticipated 15% local production increase.
- finx
Tags: Milk,


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