By Tichaona Kurewa
VICTORIA FALLS- ZIMBABWE’S raw milk production increased to 48.6 million litres from last year’s 42.6 million litres in the first nine months of 2016, boosted by local demand.
Measures instituted by government to control the importation of dairy products have also spurred the demand for locally produced milk and milk products.
As part of current efforts to support the local industry and to lower the import bill, the Zimbabwean government has imposed import controls on various products which are produced locally. Dairy products under Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 include Cremora Coffee Creamers (which is made by the local Nestle), yoghurts, flavoured milks, dairy juice blends, ice creams, cultured milk and cheese.
Due to increased local demand, the sector has so far this year imported over 400 heifers to boost production while the heifer importation schemes embarked upon in prior years are now bearing fruit.
Milk processors in the country include Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited, Nestle Zimbabwe, DenDairy, and Alpha and Omega, among other small players.
Figures released by the Dairy Services Department in the Ministry of Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation show that monthly production is averaging 5.4 million litres compared to an average 4.7 million litres per month produced last year.
The figures show that intake by processors for the period went up 16.9 percent to 43.6 million litres compared to the previous year’s intake level of 37.3 million litres.
On the other hand, retailed milk declined 4.98 percent to 5.0 million litres compared to 5.3 million litres same period last year.
Milk production in 2016 is projected at eight percent above the 2015 level of 57.53 million litres largely on investments done in the period 2014 to 2016 which amounts to about US$21.9 million, with the majority of it channelled towards the importation of heifers and acquisition of new and modern processing plants.
The dairy industry is now operating at above 60 capacity with an estimated 223 registered dairy operators and a total dairy herd of about 26,000 animals.