ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe’s largest dairy processor, Dairibord Holdings, has invested US$3.6 million in solar power and water projects to address a rocking shortage of essential utilities (electricity and water) in the country’s dairy sector.

According to the company’s CEO, Mercy Ndoro, the rolling blackouts in the country has negatively impacted the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed operations.

“Water and power shortages have a significant bearing on the firm’s performance and one of the biggest cost drivers to buying water was the transportation cost, what we are trying to do at all our factories is to increase storage capacities,” Ndoro said.

Josphat Sachikonye, the company’s chairman had previously noted that the company would continue to support farmers with input procurement facilities as well as sustainability and alternative energy options through its Milk Supply Development Unit (MSDU).

“Dairibord showed that some of its divisions reported increased volumes, while others saw production slowing down with sales volumes 14% above the same period last year, supported by investments into building capacities,” the company reports.

The report added that the company’s foods division saw volumes contract by 8%, while milk volumes grew by 7% during the review period.

According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) data, the sector controls over 60% of Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product.

In, 2022, Dairibord returned to profitability moving up 231% to ZWL$688.60m from a loss of ZWL$525m incurred in the prior comparable period.

The performance was largely driven by firm demand for the company’s products as overall sales volumes for the period grew 11% ahead of the same period last year.

The company also saw an increase in the contribution of non-milk product categories as beverages dominated the sales volumes at 62%, food at 10%, and the share of liquid milk to total volume at 28%.

As a result of the volume growth, revenue for the period increased by 40% to ZWL$17.12 billion driven by price adjustments to preserve margins.

At the beginning of the year, the government launched a plan as part of the presidential input scheme that was aimed at addressing the underperformance of the dairy value chain in Zimbabwe.

The support programme enabled dairy farmers to strengthen the linkages between production, processing, and financing.

The Government, together with other stakeholders, have also made efforts to improve raw milk production through initiatives such as training farmers on best practices and providing them with better genetics for their dairy herds.

It has continued to provide financial and other forms of support to dairy farmers to drive the growth of the dairy industry.

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