Farm­ers im­port 220 dairy cows

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Mid­lands Cor­re­spon­dent

AN as­so­ci­a­tion for dairy farm­ers brought into the coun­try 220 dairy cows last week as part of ef­forts to boost milk pro­duc­tion.

The im­por­ta­tion of dairy cows is be­ing done un­der the Dairy Re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion Pro­gramme (DRP) un­der which a levy on im­ported dairy prod­ucts is be­ing chan­nelled to in­creas­ing herd num­bers by ca­pac­ity build­ing of small scale milk pro­duc­tion cen­tres.

The Zim­babwe As­so­ci­a­tion of Dairy Farm­ers (ZADF) and the Zim­babwe Dairy In­dus­trial Trust (ZDIT) and in­volved in the pro­gramme.

Un­der the DRP a 25 per­cent levy im­posed by the Gov­ern­ment on dairy im­ports is be­ing chan­nelled to­wards boost­ing of the na­tional dairy herd through im­ports.

ZADF pres­i­dent Mr Em­manuel Zim­bandu said: “We re­ceived the first con­sign­ment of 220 dairy cows as part of our ef­forts to boost milk pro­duc­tion. At the mo­ment we are seized with how we are go­ing to dis­trib­ute the cows to the small scale farm­ers.”

He said once that is done they will move in to iden­tify the ben­e­fi­cia­ries who will then re­ceive the heifers.

“How­ever, trans­porta­tion would be sub­ject to clear­ing from the ve­teri­nary depart­ment due to fears of the foot and mouth dis­ease. The dairy cows are cur­rently un­der quar­an­tine,” added Mr Zim­bandu.

The de­vel­op­ment is ex­pected to go a long way in mit­i­gat­ing the milk short­age the coun­try is fac­ing.

It is es­ti­mated that the dairy sec­tor is op­er­at­ing at about 45 per­cent ca­pac­ity, with 223 reg­is­tered dairy op­er­a­tors and a to­tal dairy herd of about 26 000 an­i­mals bat­tling to meet de­mand.

The coun­try is pro­duc­ing about five mil­lion litres of milk per month against a monthly de­mand of 10 mil­lion litres. The bal­ance is be­ing off­set by im­ports. Na­tional milk pro­duc­tion in­creased from 150 mil­lion litres in 1980, to a peak of 256 mil­lion litres in 1990 be­fore plum­met­ing to an all-time low of 36 mil­lion litres in 2009.

The coun­try has a po­ten­tial to process 400 mil­lion litres of milk per year.

The Gov­ern­ment has spared dairy farms from com­pul­sory ac­qui­si­tion un­der the land re­form pro­gramme as part of ef­forts to in­crease milk pro­duc­tion. — @lavuzi­gara1

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