DESPITE a positive growth in the production of milk since 2009, the country’s milk supply is not expected to match demand until 2030, a government official has said.
This comes as Zimbabwe on Friday received 500 heifers from developmental organisations under the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) to boost the national herd and milk production.
“We need a total of 130 million litres of milk per annum and last year we only produced 80 million litres of milk. We are in short of 50million litres, as a result we are filling this gap by importing some milk,” deputy Agriculture minister Vangelis Haritatos said at the handover ceremony of the heifers in Harare.
Milk production in the country is on a steady increase since 2009.
“However, the current production is still far short of the national demand of approximately 130 million litres per annum. Assuming the most aggressive growth of milk supply at 14 percent per annum, local milk supply is not expected to match demand until 2030.”
In 2009, the country was producing 36 million litres of milk.
“The current dairy herd in Zimbabwe comprises 27 053 pure breeds and 11 947 cross breeds, giving a total of 39 000 dairy cows. Of these, 18 000 cows are milking and Zimbabwe is currently producing 6,7 million litres of milk per month, translating to over 80 million litre a year.
“I am also pleased to note that the number and contribution of small to medium-scale dairy farmers to milk production has significantly increased against the current challenges in milk production,” Haritatos said.
For the programme, ZAGP dairy received a total of 7million Euros, of which 90 percent was funded by the European Union and the balance came from We Effect Co-financing.
“This aims to address the root causes of underperformance in the dairy value chain in Zimbabwe by strengthening the linkages between production, processing and financing,” he said.
So far, the country received 200 heifers which are meant to benefit small-scale farmers and the remaining 300 heifers are expected to come in batches before year end.