ZIMBABWEProduction of raw milk in Zimbabwe this year is expected to rise by between 0,5 to 1 percent as the country moves to rebuild its herd and increase capacity, an official has said.

The country produced 55,5 million litres of milk in 2014, up from 54,7 million litres the previous year.

Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) chairman Mr Craig Follwell said raw milk production was expected to increase by between 0,5 to 1 percent this year.

“We are targeting an increase of 0,5 to 1 percent this year,” he said.

In 2014, ZADF entered into a three-year partnership with We Effect (formerly Swedish Co-operative Centre) to assist local dairy farmers to continue raising their capacity to produce milk.

Last year, the dairy industry appealed to the Government to ban imports that were flooding the local market to boost milk production.

The Government responded by imposing a $0,10 cents per litre levy on imports of certain milk products to level the playing field for local producers.

“These funds will contribute to the importation of dairy cows and will have an impact on production,” said Mr Follwell.

He however, said the dairy industry was facing challenges in getting long term finance to beef up production.

“The industry is capital intensive so we need a lot of capital. But that has to be finance that can be payable over a five-year period with a maximum interest rate of 5 percent,” he said.

Mr Follwell said power outages as well as high costs of other utilities were also affecting viability.

The dairy industry is currently operating at about 45 percent capacity, with an estimated 223 registered operatives and a herd of approximately 26 000.

At its peak in the 1990s, Zimbabwe produced over 150 million litres of raw milk yearly and was trading exporting into the region and beyond – New Ziana

April 8, 2015; http://allafrica.com/stories/201504081385.html