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Friday, July 12, 2024

Rusitu Dairy Scheme back on track

Story by Kenias Chivuzhe

DAIRY farmers in  Chipinge look ahead with optimism after a strong production performance at Rusitu Dairy Scheme of over 800 000 litres of milk last year, third short of its full capacity.

A  good milk harvest achieved last year has boosted  Rusitu Dairy Scheme’s forecast to go beyond the one million litres mark within the short-term period.

 Rusitu Dairy Scheme Chairperson,  Mr David Hlokomaya said, “Last year we managed to produce 81 600 litres of milk. We have increased our cattle to 840  but we are milking 338 at the moment. We want to increase our herd by 400 to surpass our dairy production 1.2 million litres per year reached  in the 1990s.”

“Government gave us inputs to grow silage and this has increased milk production in the past three years. The government has also supported women to venture into dairy farming. We however have poor breeds hence the need to improve on breeds,” said scheme member, Mrs Rudo Kuberekwa Mlambo.

Rusitu Dairy Scheme’s increasing milk supply speaks to the strategic nature of cooperatives in growing the economy and contributing towards the attainment of Vision 2030.

“Rusitu Dairy is one of the agriculture cooperatives in the country. There are 1 million 465 people who are members of the agriculture cooperatives in the country. We have cooperatives in many sectors that include housing, transport, sawing and recently we started health cooperatives. These cooperatives including this one are developing in the country with the assistance of government,” said President of the Cooperatives Movement of Zimbabwe, Mr Mike Duru.

Government is looking at this project as a beacon of empowerment and economic resurgence.

Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Advocate Misheck Mugadza said, “This association is producing milk. We want to produce cheese and other products here. We are moving forward with the President’s vision on rural industrialisation.”

 “I glad to learn that Rusitu dairy cooperative through the cattle bank facility acquired 28 dairy heifers. The cooperative has also received grants worth more than US$300 000. I would want to thank the dairy sector revitalisation programme and other financiers who are contributing to the achievements of this cooperative. My ministry will assist the cooperative to easily access funds.

I look forward to seeing the cooperative move from selling raw milk to the production of milk products like cheese and yoghurt. By harnessing the collective power of Rusitu Dairy cooperative we can create a more equitable and sustainable society thereby reducing poverty by creating employment and ensuring food security,” said the Minister of Women Affairs, Community and Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Senator  Monica Mutsvangwa.

The revival of this project aligns with the Second  Republic’s commitment to boosting the agricultural sector.

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