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Milk production surpasses 100 million litres in annual output

Story by Tichaona Kurewa

Zimbabwe’s quest to improve food self-sufficiency and to retain the country’s regional breadbasket status is on track, with revelations that the country is now producing over 100 million litres of milk annually.

Food and nutrition security remains the top priority for Zimbabwe and occupies a central space in the National Development Strategy One (NDS1), which seeks to improve food self-sufficiency from the current level of 45 percent to 100 percent and reduce food insecurity from the current peak of 59 percent in 2020 to less than 10 percent by 2025.

On the sidelines of a four-day International Dairy Federation (IDF) and International Scientific Organisation (ISO) analytical week in Victoria Falls this Tuesday, the government revealed that Zimbabwe was inching closer to milk self-sufficiency, with milk products exports having resumed to countries such as Mozambique.

“We have seen a lot of growth in the dairy sector. Currently, we are milking around 100 million litres per year compared to what we have been milking in the past five years. We were in the 70s or 60s million litres per year.

“We have seen growth within the dairy sector in terms of efficiency, where good genetics are being imported. Secondly, growth in terms of the feed itself where the diary farmers are giving improved feed, resulting in one cow giving about 40 litres a day,” said the Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Honourable Davis Marapira.

The analytical week is being held by IDF and ISO in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Dairy Industry Trust (ZDIT) and the government of Zimbabwe.

ZDIT indicated that a 15 percent increase in milk production is anticipated this year on the back of investments of over US$50 million in the industry over the past year.

“This year was affected by drought, if it wasn’t that, we were going to grow the industry by more that 20 percent this year. The investment that we have put forward is going to assist us in achieving economies of scale and reduce the cost of production and then we will be able to be competitive in the region,” said the Zimbabwe Dairy Industry Trust’s chairperson, Mr Themba Mutsvairo.

The dairy sector is a key component of the National Livestock Growth Plan, which supports the agenda of the NDS1, anchored by the Agriculture, Food Systems and Rural Transformation Strategy which seeks to achieve an US$8,2 billion agriculture economy by 2025.

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