DAIRY farmers in Zimbabwe produced 83,06 million litres in the 11 months to November, 15,2 percent better than the same period last year, putting them in good standing to meet the national target of 90 million for 2022, latest official figures show.
With only a few days to the end of the 2022 calendar year, players in the dairy sector are confident that they will be able to achieve the national output target.
During the period under review, Zimbabwe’s raw milk production rose 15 percent to 83,06 million litres from 71,99 million litres recorded in the same period last year
Figures from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development show that milk intake by processors was up 14 percent to 74,95 million litres from 65,80 million litres in the comparable period last year.
Accordingly, retailed milk by producers rose 31 percent to 8,11 million litres from 6,19 million litres in the comparative period last year.
Economist Dr Prosper Chitambara said, “The increase in milk production is a step in the right direction as it reduces the import bill of the country.
“We are using much foreign currency importing milk powders to augment our supply, so such a development will do us much good.”
Raw milk output in November surged 12,12 percent to 8,07 million litres, compared to 7,19 million litres in the same period last year.
However, October’s milk output at 8,14 million litres remains the highest so far after overtaking July’s production of 7,84 million litres.
During the period under review, average monthly milk output growth for the first 11 months stood at 7,55 million litres. For the same period last year, it was at 6,54 million litres.
Zimbabwe’s monthly milk consumption requirement stands at about 10 million litres.
To cover the production gap, milk supplies are being supplemented with imports.
“For 2022, we should be ending the year within our milk supply target range, which we have set at 90 million litres, and we are confident that we will be able to reach that figure by year-end,” said Addmore Waniwa, an official in the ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.
“We have managed to reach an 8 million litre monthly milk production for the first time in the past, I believe since 2004-2005, which is a very great achievement, and what is contributing to this increase, we can cite a number of initiatives that are happening with the sector, first and foremost, I would say, the increase in dairy herd.”
Zimbabwe’s dairy industry faces a plethora of challenges, which include high production and processing costs, issues around the bank ability of land tenure, limited access to affordable finance and foreign currency and high cost of compliance.
The country’s livestock industry contributes significantly to household and national food and nutrition security, foreign currency earnings, and is a source of livelihood for about 67 percent of the country’s rural households. – Herald