Zim dairy products a hit in Zambia
SENIOR STAFF WRITER
ZIMBABWEAN dairy farmers should strive to ensure they maintain their genetically modified organisms (GMO)-free status which has seen their products in demand in regional markets, the Daily News reports.
Veterinary Services Department deputy director Hardword Machakwa told a recent seminar in Harare on dairy products value chain addition that local products are a big hit in neighbouring Zambia.
“Despite the latest push by farmers for government approval for GMO use in stockfeed to reduce costs, it should be noted that our dairy products are preferred, especially in Zambia, because they are GMO-free,” Machakwa said.
He said dairy farmers should use this GMO-free status as an advantage to export more products in the region.
“Last week, we had farmers who were asking the government to relax its regulation regarding the use of GMOs in the production of feed. But the GMO-free status is giving our products an edge in the region,” he added.
Local dairy farmers’ associations are agitating for the establishment of a command input scheme across the dairy value chain as a financing option to boost productivity.
The call for a presidential input scheme comes from a consortium consisting of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU), We Effect, Zimbabwe Dairy Industry Trust (ZDIT) and Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF).
The consortium is implementing a project entitled Transforming Zimbabwe’s Dairy Value Chain for the Future (TranZDVC).
Commercial dairy farms in Zimbabwe are well developed and compare favourably with those in the region.
Milk production in 2012 in the formal dairy sector was 52 million litres against a national demand of 180 million litres per annum.
Dairy services authorities have set up milk collection centres and dips to service projects in a bid to capacitate smallholder farmers in the dairy value chain.
Animal health centres have also been set up by the veterinary services department to support dairy development.