By Josephine Mugiyo
ZIMBABWE’S dairy sector is on an upward trajectory with farmers noting the viability of the sector on the back of continued government support.
In the last three seasons, the dairy sector recorded a dip in milk production owing to several factors.
However, following several interventions from the government and private players, the dairy sector is on a rebound, with farmers upbeat on the current performance of the sector.
A dairy farmer, Mr Stoff Hawgood of Tavestock Farm is currently producing 18 000 litres of milk a day
Mr Hawgood says the sector is currently viable, highlighting that those already into dairy farming like himself are eager to expand their operations while new players are keen to come in.“There is quite good visibility in the dairy industry now. As long as there is money farmers will do anything to push production. The government has been pushing to boost production by working with key players, he said.
The government has noted the growth in the sector, which currently stands at 17 per cent month-on-month production.
“We believe that the sector is on a rebound we are producing 59 million litres compared to 50 million same periods last year. We believe the dairy sector is on a rebound because of the strategic interventions by the government and the private sector. We launched the presidential silage programme where we gave small-scale farmers enough inputs to produce one hectare of silage,” said John Basera, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement.
The government has gone beyond capacitating smallholder farmers, with interventions also being put in place for large-scale dairy producers.
“We also did the NEAPS. This was linked to private players. We also introduced a levy on imported milk products and this has reduced usage of imported milk products resulting in import substitution,” he said.
The government is targeting to grow the dairy herd from the current 48 000 to 60 000 by 2023