Government devising ways of attracting new players in dairy sector
Bulawayo (New Ziana)-The Zimbabwe government is working with stakeholders in the dairy industry to develop systems that ensure costs of production remain low in order to attract new players, an official has said.
Chief dairy officer in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Climate Edmore Waniwa said this during World Milk Day commemorations held in Bulawayo recently.
Currently the country has over 47 000 dairy cattle producing 91 000 million litres of milk annually.
Raw milk production increased to 91.6 million in 2022 from 79.6 million achieved in 2021, which is far below the national demand of 130 million litres per annum, prompting the government to explore ways of attracting new players in the industry to boost production.
Currently, the country is importing milk products from South Africa to cover the deficit.
“As government, we want to attract new players on board. We are trying to promote dairy by ensuring that farmers take it as a serious business.
“We have to make it attractive. This can be achieved if we make the sector viable. This is done through reducing the cost of production, coming up with systems that make sure cost of production is on lower levels, and reducing cost of compliance and feed,” said Waniwa.
By doing so, Waniwa said, small holder farmers will be able to participate in the dairy value chain and make a living through production.
He said the private sector and the government are working to grow the dairy herd through importing dairy cattle from South Africa.
“We have a demand for dairy cattle in the country and as such we are importing from South Africa. In the long-term the government is trying to bridge our local breeders so that we do local breeding. There are programs that are aimed at breeding, which the government has initiated such as establishment of bull centres. At the centres, seamen will be collected from dairy bulls, processed, and used for artificial insemination during breeding,” he said.
Waniwa said to improve efficiency in production, there is need to procure modern machinery for both production and processing of dairy products.
He added that the dairy industry requires vast knowledge and therefore the government was working with other stakeholders to ensure farmers are capacitated through training.
The Government in 2020 approved the Livestock Recovery and Growth Plan (2021-2026), whose main thrust is to put in place solid interventions to address production and productivity issues required for a good foundation for the sector to assume its prominent role in transforming farmers’ livelihoods.