The Sunday Mail
A TOTAL of 121 farmers from the country’s 10 provinces on Friday received 147 in-calf heifers under the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP), which is one of the initiatives to boost the local dairy sector.
Under this programme, ZAGP dairy received €7 million (Euros) from the European Union, with the funds set to address the root causes of under-performance in the dairy value chain.
The heifers, which were imported from South Africa, are being distributed under the Transforming Zimbabwe’s Dairy Value Chain for the Future (TranZDVC) project.
Addressing the in-calf heifer handover ceremony at Zengea Farm, Marirangwe in Seke district, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, said the dairy development project was organised at the right time when Government is promoting the revitalisation of the dairy sector through various growth initiatives as a strategy to improve milk quantity and quality.
Started in 2019, TranZDVC is a four-year initiative targeting 4 000 small to medium-scale and large dairy farmers.
Through the importation of in-calf heifers, the programme will increase the production of milk from 75 million litres (in 2018) to 120 million litres by 2022.
The programme will also increase the participation of small-scale farmers, especially women and the youth in the dairy value chain.
In a speech read on his behalf by his deputy, Vangelis Haritatos, Dr Masuka also spoke about the increased involvement of small scale diary producers.
“I am pleased to note that the number and contribution of small to medium scale dairy farmers to milk production has significantly increased against the current challenges in milk production. The dairy sector is definitely destined for a boom,” he said.
Among some of the stakeholders that are working hand in glove with Government in the revitalisation of the dairy sector are the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF), Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) and the Zimbabwe Dairy Industry Trust (ZDIT).
The revitalisation programmes, according to Dr Masuka, are in line with Government’s 2030 vision of transforming Zimbabwe into a prosperous and upper income society by 2030.
The current dairy herd in Zimbabwe comprises 27 053 pure breeds and 11 947 cross breeds, giving a total of 39 000 dairy cows.
Of these, 19 000 cows are milking with the country producing 6, 7 million litres of milk per month, translating to 76 million litres a year.
In 2020, the nation produced 76, 6 million litres of milk against an annual demand of 130 million litres, a deficit of more than 54 million litres.