THE Transforming Zimbabwe’s Dairy Value Chain for the Future (TranZDVC) project, which aims to address the root causes of under-performance in Zimbabwe’s dairy value chain, has noted that feed constitutes up to 70 percent of total costs in the country’s dairy value chain.
TranZDVC, which conducted a nationwide analysis on the contribution of feed to the overall cost structure in milk production, is now spearheading the adoption of measures to reduce costs and increase competitiveness in the dairy sector.
Among a host of measures, the project will facilitate farmer training on cow nutrition requirements and fodder production.
“Protein is the most expensive but key ingredient for improved milk quality and quantity. Only about 55 percent of small-scale farmers are reported to be producing own feed for their dairy enterprises. To reduce cost of feed, farmers need to increase own feed production,” reads part of a document by TranZDVC.
The proposed farmer training will include on- farm feed, hays, fresh fodder, silage and cost -effective feed development options.
TranZDVC- a partnership between We Effect , Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF), Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) and Zimbabwe Dairy Industry Trust (ZDIT-will also facilitate Public–Private Partnerships (PPP) such as bulk purchases and bulk transportation of feed, piloting hydroponic production techniques for fodder production as well as study circles aimed at developing the capacity and competence of farmer groups through interactive exchange of knowledge.
“TranZDVC will facilitate the development of dairy cow management study circle material, which will include animal nutrition and different feed options and dairy farm management models.
“The Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) field officers, through agricultural extension officers, will facilitate the sensitisation and mobilisation of the study circle groups. Lead Farmers will provide practical training on fodder production through commercial demonstrations and field days,” said TranZDVC.
The TranZDVC intervention on reducing feed costs also seeks to provide support to small-scale feed entrepreneurs.
“For those farmers with limited access to suitable land and water, purchasing fodder from feed entrepreneurs may be a lower cost option. Such entrepreneurs may be farmers specialising in animal feed production and/or entrepreneurs buying/collecting feed from local farmers, and processing the same into feed for the dairy farmers,” reads part of the project document.
One of TranZDVC’s key objectives is to capacitate farmers through provision of a matching facility to enable them to buy productive assets such as silage cutters, solar powered boreholes, pulverisers, feed mixers and feed transporting vehicles. Additionally, TranZDVC will also strengthen the capacity of independent laboratories to conduct feed, soil, water and milk testing.
(This is the third of four articles on the TRANZ DVC project that will appear in four consecutive editions of the Daily News on Sunday. Every quarter we will track the progress of this critical project. For more information contact Dr Chifamba: WE effect-0774 836 438, Mrs Chadoka: ZADF- 0772 919 240, Mr Zakaria: ZFU -0771 925 887 and Mrs Marecha: ZDIT– 0772 120 978).