ZIMBABWE – The Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) has reaffirmed its commitment to enhancing the production and development of milk and dairy products in Zimbabwe.

As a comprehensive hub for dairy-related information, ZADF supports various facets of the dairy industry, including input supply, production, financing, and markets.

The association actively lobbies policymakers to safeguard and promote the interests of dairy farmers, offering advisory and extension services encompassing dairy breeding, nutrition, animal health, and general dairy management.

Meanwhile, in collaboration with other value chain players, ZADF has implemented a Dairy Sector Strategy to achieve national milk sufficiency.

The strategy which aligns with the National Development Strategy (NDS1), the Agricultural Food Systems Transformation Strategy, and the Livestock Development Implementation Strategy (LDIS), is all set to boost dairy productivity to meet and exceed national milk demand.

According to data from the association, there has been a significant increase in raw milk production, rising by 51% from 66 million liters in 2017 to nearly 100 million liters in 2023.

The dairy cow population has also grown by over 61% during the same period. The first quarter of 2024  has also experienced a 21% increase in milk production compared to the same period last year, reaching over 27 million liters.

ZADF national chairman Mr. Ernest Muzorewa attributed the increase in milk production to the collaborative efforts of farmer associations, the government, the private sector, and development partners.

He highlighted government initiatives such as the Presidential and Command Silage schemes and the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine as pivotal in boosting the national herd.

Additionally, a 5% levy on imported dairy products has been channelled into the dairy revitalization fund to curtail unnecessary imports and develop the sector.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development Minister Dr. Anxious Masuka emphasized the livestock sector’s contribution to household and national food security, foreign currency earnings, and livelihoods for about 67% of rural households.

He noted the dairy value chain’s significant employment generation, providing jobs to approximately 30,000 people directly and indirectly benefiting 1.3 million households. The government continues to support the sector, allocating resources to foster growth.

However, despite the progress, challenges remain. There is a gap between milk demand and supply, with annual demand at approximately 130 million liters against the current production of 91 million liters.

High production costs, regional competitiveness, limited access to affordable finance, and low capacity utilization of local dairy processing plants are among the issues needing resolution.

To achieve the targeted 20% growth in the dairy sector for 2023, ZADF advocates for on-farm feed production, improved efficiency at the farm level, and continual improvement of genetics guided by the National Dairy Breeding Strategy (NDBS).

The positive impact of government schemes is evident in the success stories of beneficiaries like Mr. Lindwell Moyo of Hololo Village. He received three heifers in 2018, which have now increased to 11, demonstrating the potential for growth and sustainability in the sector.


Subscribe to our food and agriculture industry email newsletters that provide busy executives like you with the latest news insights and trends from Africa and the World. SUBSCRIBE HERE