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Monday, June 17, 2024

Increased support needed to boost dairy sector

Story by Kenias Chivuzhe

THE government is forging ahead with the capacitation of farmers to maintain growth of the dairy sector and reduce the national milk deficit which currently runs into millions of litres.

Despite the positive growth of the dairy sector from an annual milk production of 37 million litres in 2009 to 100 million in 2023, Sangano Dairy Project which started in 1997 in Makoni district, has recorded a sharp decline from almost 1000 litres per day to 120 litres per day.

As part of the strides to boost productivity, the government through the Department of Veterinary Services and the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) organised a training programme to capacitate more farmers to venture into dairy farming and introduced artificial insemination programmes meant to increase the national dairy herd, which will translate into increased milk production.

“Sangano Dairy has 48 farmers but only 8 are supplying milk which amounts to 120 litres per day. We had a workshop to educate the locals on dairy production to boost our milk production. The graduates have started to raise money to buy cattle as we have a target to buy more dairy cattle by the end of June. At peak, we were producing 900 litres per day with 32 farmers supplying milk then but the production has dropped to 120 litres,” said Sangano Dairy Association, chairperson, Aaron Changadzo.

“We do artificial insemination to increase the national herd. Under the Inclusive Economic Value Chains for Economic Development, we have the beef dairy model to increase our herd. We have subsidised semen to assist our farmers to re-stock,” said ZADF chairperson, Flaviano Chikonyora.

Local traditional leader, Chief Makoni and Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Advocate Misheck Mugadza believe the capacitation of dairy farmers will not only increase milk production but also improve livelihoods in the rural community.

“These projects will ensure we attain Vision 2030. This will promote sustainability,” said the Chief.

Advocate Mugadza said, “This programme was doing well but now needs to be boosted. We need to support them. Sangano Dairy Veterinary Field Day and Dairy Farmer graduation ceremony saw the graduation of 37 farmers who underwent training in animal production and health management.”

The Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Honourable Davis Marapira reassured farmers that the government is fully committed to working with all dairy value chain actors to boost milk production in the country.

“The dairy value chain is a high employment generator. It provides direct employment to approximately 30 000 people and indirectly to 13 000 people. We will support this dairy project by giving the local farmers dairy cattle and capacitate them to produce their own food. As a nation, we are currently producing about 100 million litres of milk and our consumption rate is between 130 million litres to 150 million litres per year. The industrial processing rate is around 400 million litres so, there is a very big gap between our current production of 100 million to the industrial production of about 400 million litres,” said the deputy minister.

Manicaland is ranked second in the country in terms of milk production and contributes 27 percent of the national milk production, hence government targets to support the dairy sector in the province for it to achieve its full production potential.

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