HARARE – Zimbabwe’s milk production increased by 14 percent in the second quarter to 17, 76 million litres from 15, 60 litres during the same period last year, figures from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement show.
The country requires 10 million litres of raw milk each month, but can only produce around half of its requirements, necessitating importation of the balance.
Although the country’s milk output is still significantly below set national demand, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in its latest quarterly report says the increase is attributable to the implementation of the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) Strategic Plan (2018 – 2022).
Notable was the availability of stock feeds, in view of a ‘fair’ agricultural season, and directly related the strategic plan, an improvement in the national dairy herd over the period under review.
“Despite the annual dairy output falling below the national requirement of 120 million litres, the increase in output was in line with the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers Strategic Plan (2018 – 2022), which aims to raise production levels to 130 million litres by 2022,” said the RBZ.
“The strategy envisages to increase milk output through increasing herd size, improving genetics, intensifying farmer training, and improving productivity per cow to 15 litres of milk of per day, from the current 12.5 litres per day, among other initiatives.”
On cumulative basis, the country’s milk output for the first half of the year stood at 34, 77 million litres, surpassing 2017’s performance of 31, 19 million litres by 11, 5 percent.
But output is still very low, a factor that may have contributed to low milk consumption in the country.
Zimbabwe’s low per capita consumption of milk at just 7 litres, is comparatively low alongside the 130 litres or 85 litres consumed in Kenya and Botswana respectively.