Milk imports cost Zimbabwe millions yearly: Study

By ZBC Reporter

ZIMBABWE is expected to save millions of dollars per year from milk imports by focusing on solving challenges being faced by the dairy sector.

An agriculture sector study has revealed that Zimbabwe’s milk output per month has been hovering at around seven million litres against national requirements of 10 million litres.

The development has created shortfalls that have been addressed through milk imports.

Speaking in Harare this Thursday, the Chief Director in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Climate, Water and Rural Resettlement, Dr Josephat Nyika said government has come up with a roadmap to address the milk import bill.

“We understand the situation and measures are being put in place to identify the challenges,” he said.

The roadmap is also focusing on boosting the milk sector value chain to stabilise prices while increasing availability of the commodity.

Zimbabwe has a processing capacity of 400 million litres a year but is currently operating at 40 percent capacity owing largely to high production costs, low cow herd, lack of equipment and poor adoption of modern breeding technologies among other issues.

The country’s annual milk production increased from 150 million litres in 1980 to peak at 256 million litres in 1990 before it plunged to around 55 million litres by 2013.

Its dairy herd declined from about 122 000 in 1990 (with an output of 250 million litres a year) to only 26 000 in 2015, but the Dairy Revitalisation Programme has set the country firmly on a recovery path.