ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe’s dairy industry is experiencing a remarkable growth, with August witnessing a significant 13% increase in national raw milk production compared to the same month last year.

According to data from the Diary Services Unit (DSU), the country’s August milk intake rose from 7.8 million litres in 2022 to 8.8 million litres in 2023. This surge in production indicated significant growth in the sector.

The DSU’s statistics revealed that not only did August see substantial growth, but the cumulative milk production from January to August also increased by 7%, rising from 59.0 million litres in 2022 to an impressive 63.0 million litres in 2023.

In a recent address at the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) annual general meeting (AGM), Anxious Masuka, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, pledged that the government had committed to bolstering the dairy sector.

He highlighted ongoing efforts to engage private stakeholders in the industry and address critical issues such as land allocation and water tariffs.

“I expect milk production to surpass your forecasted six per cent increase to 101 million litres by year-end,” Minister Masuka said.

He emphasized the improvements in power supply, attributed to various power plants like Hwange Power Plant and Kariba, as a significant factor contributing to the sector’s growth.

The ZADF AGM, attended both in person and virtually by industry stakeholders, featured presentations on diverse topics, including investment opportunities, nutrition’s role in milk production, fertility, health, and economics.

Other discussions covered dairy extension services, research at the farm level, breeding for dairy profit, calf rearing, crossbreeding pros and cons, mastitis costs, and the national dairy herd health program.

Recent developments also revealed that the dairy sector had witnessed a notable increase in capacity utilization, rising from 40% in 2020 to the current 60%. Some local processors had also expanded their reach to regional markets by exporting their dairy products.

According to Paidamoyo Chadoka, CEO of ZADF, approximately US$20 million in investments across the dairy value chain (DVC) in 2022 have resulted in the country producing 91.4 million litres of raw milk, up from 79.6 million litres the previous year.

“Sixty per cent of the investment was channelled towards improving efficiency and capacity at the processing level.”

Additionally, Dr. Reneth Mano, Executive Administrator of the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (LMAC), stressed the need for a structured dairy investment fund to provide loans to trained farmers. 

He advocated for capital investment loans aimed at increasing the number of crossbred dairy cows per farmer.