In a remarkable testament to the resilience and determination of Zimbabwe’s dairy industry, the country is poised to shatter records by producing over 100 million litres of milk this year. This monumental achievement comes as Zimbabwe races to meet its current annual demand of 120 million litres. The sector’s remarkable growth, with last year’s production soaring to 91.6 million litres, a 14.3% increase from the previous year, is setting a promising stage for Zimbabwe’s dairy farmers.
The Minister’s Vision:
At the recent ninth annual general meeting of the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers in Nyanga, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, Anxious Masuka, shared his ambitious vision for the dairy industry. He stated, “We are building a US$13.75 billion agriculture industry by 2025, and the dairy sector is a pivotal part of this endeavor. With demand increasing by approximately 15% annually and a 6% growth in the first seven months of this year alone, we are well on track to exceed 100 million litres. To achieve this, we must focus on expanding our milking cow population and enhancing productivity per cow per day.”
International Investments Fuel Growth:
The remarkable surge in raw milk production owes much to international investments. In 2019, the European Union extended a generous US$7 million funding facility to Zimbabwe, benefiting small-to-medium-scale dairy farmers. This support, channelled through the “Transforming Zimbabwe’s Dairy Value Chain” project, provided 500 in-calf heifers in 2021, injecting fresh vitality into the sector.
The dairy industry faces significant challenges, with overhead costs, particularly stockfeed, accounting for 70% of expenses. To tackle these challenges and bolster sustainability, the government initiated a silage production program last year, addressing issues stemming from high-feed costs.
Manicaland: A Dairy Powerhouse:
Manicaland Province has emerged as a stronghold of milk production, contributing significantly to Zimbabwe’s efforts to achieve self-sufficiency. The province proudly generates approximately 16% of the nation’s total annual milk production, with medium and large-scale commercial farmers in Mutare, Makoni, and Chipinge regions playing a pivotal role.
Small-scale dairy farmer collection centers, such as Mayfield and Rusitu United in Chipinge, have been producing over 30,000 litres per month, supplying Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited. Additionally, Tsonzo, Sangano, Honde Valley, and Cynara, closer to Mutare, are bolstering milk volumes in the region.
Manicaland’s dairy success serves as a testament to the potential of Zimbabwean dairy farming, highlighting what can be achieved with the right support and resources.
Zimbabwe’s dairy farmers are on the cusp of a historic achievement as they aim to exceed the coveted 100-million-litre mark in milk production. With robust government support, international investments, and the dedication of local farmers, the dairy sector is poised to not only meet but surpass the nation’s growing demand for this essential commodity. This success story in Manicaland Province underscores the boundless potential of Zimbabwe’s dairy industry and its capacity to bridge the gap between supply and demand. As the nation forges ahead, it’s clear that Zimbabwe’s dairy farmers are not only meeting the challenges but also shaping the future of the industry on a global scale.
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