ZIMBABWE – Milk production in Zimbabwe is on a growth trajectory thanks to a 5-year dairy sector development plan spearheaded by the government to boost local production.

According to data from the government, the supply of raw milk in Zimbabwe has increased by 4% from 79.6 million litres recorded in 2021 to 83 million litres this year.

Zimbabwe’s milk production was not always this low. Back in the 1900s, the country’s milk production averaged at 230 million litres before plummeting to less than 35 million litres in 2008.

The country has however witnessed a steady increase to the current 70 million litres but it still imports 48% of its demand.

The extra demand is imported from South Africa, a neighbouring country, under a duty-free quota system to approved importers.

The country has now embarked on a livestock and recovery growth plan with a target to increase annual production to 150 million litres by 2025.

To get there, Zimbabwe plans to raise its dairy cattle herd from the current 39,980 heads to 60,000.

The government has put in efforts to support the dairy sector by allocating enough resources to the sector from the national budget.

Some of the funds have been directed to availing access to loans to small-scale farmers so that they can invest in the milk production value chain.

It is also part of the government’s plan that farmers benefit from the presidential input scheme which aims to address the underperformance of the Zimbabwean dairy value chain.

The scheme has put in place programs that will strengthen the link between the production, processing and financing of dairy and the dairy subsector.

To further support the dairy sector, the government has introduced a 5 percent duty on dairy imports to protect the nascent sector from cheap imports.

Besides the government’s support, the dairy sector has also benefitted from several other schemes led by the private sector such as investments in modern technologies.

Analysts and experts are therefore calling upon smallholder and medium-scale farmers to venture deeper into dairy farming to boost milk production and hence meet the local demand.

“There is a huge deficit in terms of milk supply, we must ensure that we increase to meet our national requirement.

Once we are above the national requirement, we can export, which will ensure the much-needed foreign currency in the country,” a statement from Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers business and growth development committee chairperson, Peter Muzariri.

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