HARARE: Zimbabwe’s raw milk production for the month of January 2016 has surged 17 percent compared to the first month of the previous year spurred by rains which brought about fresh green pastures for the dairy cows ,the Dairy Services Department(DSD) has said.
Statistics released by the DSD show that Zimbabwe produced 5, 5 million litres of raw milk in January this year up from 4, 7 million litres the in same month in 2015. Compared to December 2015, the Southern African country’s raw milk production surged 3, 8 percent in January to 5, 5 million litres from 5, 3 million.
Government is targeting growth of 7 percent in the dairy sector over the next five years from 2015 to be financed by proceeds of the levy on pasteurised milk imports.
The Southern African country has witnessed a steady rise in annual milk production since 2011 following the adoption of the multicurrency regime, although it is still importing some milk and milk products from neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Zambia.
The country’s annual milk production is about 120 million litres. Total milk production for 2015 was at about 58 million litres, the highest volume produced, year-on-year in the last 5 years. In 2011, 51 million litres were produced and increased to 56 million litres in 2012; then slightly decreased to 55 million for 2013 and 2014. DSD regional diary officer Addmore Waniwa said corporation between government and the private sector was bearing fruits.
“Continued gradual increase in raw milk production volumes is a result of ongoing efforts by public and private sector stakeholders in the industry which are aimed at resuscitation of the industry. “These include among others increasing local dairy herd, improving milk yield of the cows and monitoring of imported dairy products,” he said.
He said there was need for all the stakeholders to work together to lower production costs. “Our milk price is high due to high cost of production making our products uncompetitive especially to South Africa where milk prices have gone down making their products cheaper,” he said.
Drought predictions in the 2015/16 cropping season are likely to dampen the country’s hopes to independently meet its annual milk and milk products demand. Zimbabwe is currently importing milk and milk products from neighbouring countries such as South Africa, Zambia and Botswana to augment local production which is currently below national requirement.