Zimbabwe targets milk self-sufficiency

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AS the Second Republic targets milk self-sufficiency, investments by the local dairy sector are positively impacting production after slowing down milk powder imports by more than 10 percent since January.

The latest data released by the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers indicates that more than 80 million liters of milk have been produced since January this year, against an annual requirement of about 120 million liters

Investments by milk processing companies have been spurred by the rise in raw milk output, thereby raising optimism about reduced milk powder imports.

A reduction in milk powder imports is expected to save the country millions of dollars in foreign currency.

“The past four years have seen growth in raw milk value chains coupled with increased investments that are positively affecting overall production volumes this is being seen as a positive trend that will save over US$30 million on milk imports,” said Gerald Chivete, Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers, Chief Executive Officer.

Increased raw milk uptake by processing firms across the country is anticipated to reach 130 million liters by 2025.

“It is all about how the trend can be sustained going forward and this also depends on macroeconomic stability but given the current gains we are on track to further boost production translating to growth for the entire value chains,” said Solomon Zawe, Zimbabwe Agricultural Society Livestock Committee Member.

The report, however, noted that sustainable growth of the dairy sector will depend on addressing high production costs, low productivity, subdued herd size, limited access to finance at affordable rates, and climate change shocks.

Last year, Zimbabwe imported milk powder worth US$33 million, a high net outflow of foreign currency which can be addressed by the current recovery in local milk production.