Zim annual raw milk production slightly up
Bulawayo- Zimbabwe’s 2014 annual raw milk production increased 1,5 percent compared to 2013 mainly due to increased availability of inputs locally.
Figures released this week by the Dairy Services Department in the Ministry of Agriculture Mechanization and Irrigation Development show that 55,5 million litres of milk were produced in 2014 compared to 54,7 million litres produced the previous year.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union director Paul Zakariya said knowledge on dairy production was going up among dairy producers.
“There is increased awareness now among farmers on dairy farming although the figures don’t match with what we used to produce. We are still far below our normal threshold of way over 200 million litres a year,” he said.
“There is lot that we still need to do apart from just awareness, it’s also the infrastructure, and it’s also getting the right type of dairy cows and increasing their number and then improving skills of the dairy farmers.”
Zakariya said dairy farmers need to acquire state of the art equipment on their farms.
“Producers also need to improve technology on their farms. All these can actually push the throughput to a lot more than that. With these statistics, looking at the two years we can see that there is a steady progression, but we need more,” he said.
Commenting on the same issue diary expert Tatenda Guta said there was need for all stakeholders to continue working together to bring back the former glory of the sector.
“Farmers should be given more knowledge on pasture production and silage making which they can make now and store for use during the dry season,” he said.
“There is also need for improved quality of fodder banks pre-harvest and post-harvest. Market linkages for fodder supply and other feed raw materials like molasses for all farmers must be necessitated in all the dairy farming areas.”
He said best vaccination practice should also be followed to curb diseases like mastitis that reduces milk output and quality.
The Southern African country’s raw milk production peaked at 256 million litres in 1990 and the lowest record was 36 million litres in 2009.
However since 2010 Zimbabwe’s raw milk production has been registering a steady increase. This year milk production is expected to soar, on the back of a bright 2014/15 agricultural outlook.