Farmers import 220 dairy cows
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