Zim misses milk production targets
© ZIMBABWE’S dairy industry narrowly missed the 2019 annual national milk production target of 86 million litres by 6,5 million litres due to drought.
Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) chief executive Paida Chadoka said drought “resulted in heat stress in cows, poor veld condition and reduced drinking water for animals, causing a decline in the production growth trajectory”.
However, the 79,5 million litres of milk registered last year was a great improvement from the 75,4 million litres recorded in 2018.
Chadoka attributed the slight increase to various interventions and initiatives by both the private and public sector stakeholders in the industry.
Zimbabwe is targeting to double milk volumes to 130 million litres and be self-sufficient by 2030.
Although, the country’s milk production has been on an upward trajectory, the effects of climate change are hitting hard, depressing expansion efforts including government’s partnership with the private sector, and investments in processing plants and machinery.
For instance, over 201 000 cattle valued at around US$160,9 million died in 2019. Of these, 1 167 cattle and 35 donkey died due to drought in four provinces.
Another 300 000 cattle valued at $240 million are expected to die in 2020 due to drought and lack of vaccines.
Chadoka noted that climate change is a reality that is significantly affecting the agriculture sector, with the country constantly receiving low rainfall each season, hence affecting rain fed crops like maize and soya beans, which are critical in the manufacture of dairy feed.
“This has resulted in the industry anticipating feed insecurity for our dairy herd as well lack of adequate drinking water for the animals.
“As the health, nutrition and management of livestock are inextricably interrelated; under-nutrition will threaten animal health unless management is changed to prevent problems occurring during drought,” she added.