Zimbabwe attains dairy target by the end of 2021 but this is still below the national milk demand of 140 million litres.
According to reports from Zimbabwe, the Dairy Services Unit of the country’s Livestock Production and Development has been on course to attain the national milk target to produce 80 million litres of milk by the end of 2021.
This was a result of the sharp increase in milk supply from the second quarter till the end of the year.
In an interview, the regional dairy officer in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement of Zimbabwe, Mr Addmore Waniwa attributed the increase to consistent warm and dry weather conditions experienced during the second quarter of 2021.
He added this in addition to improved feed supply, the dry weather conditions are conducive for the dairy cows.
However, Mr Waniwa said the 80 million litres target is still below the national demand of 140 million litres, adding that more still needs to be done to meet the national milk demand.
“During the first quarter of the year, we were on a bit of a dry spell in terms of milk supply mainly because of the rainy season. Supply was on the negative and this affected production up to March 2021.
“We operated on a negative downward trend then. It however picked up and averaged around an increase of seven percent from April to November,” he said.
Meanwhile, statistics released by the DSU shows that in November the country had received more than 70 million litres, thereby making the attainment of the national target of 80 million litres by year-end possible.
In 2020, the DSU received 76, 7 million litres of milk. The country was experiencing gradual growth during the years preceding 2020.
The production, however, spiralled down in 2020.
“As a country, we are now back to our usual gradual growth which we had been experiencing before 2020. The dry weather conditions are comfortable for the animals.
“Our farmers had an improved supply of feed for the animals and this contributed to the improved milk production,” said Mr Waniwa.
He said during the previous two years, the successive drought had caused a shortage of feed for dairy cows, but with the 2019/20 rainy season came an improved feed supply.
“Feed supply was good. It was not enough, but slightly more than the previous two seasons’ feed. Feed is the main key driver of milk growth and if we have an adequate feed or an improved food supply, our milk volume will increase.
“The volumes become a bit reduced when we have feed supply challenges. So if we manage to improve feed supply with the interventions currently being done, we will reach our target,” he said.
Mr Waniwa said the inclusion of the Dairy Services Unit in the National Enhanced Agriculture Input Scheme by the Government will boost milk production in the country.
He applauded Government for the inclusion, saying this will help increase productivity through the improved food supply.
“With the current herd we have, if feed supply is improved by the National Enhanced Input Scheme, then we can reach our target.
“We have had a good agricultural season this year in terms of dairy production and believe demand can be met with these new interventions being introduced by Government,” he said.