The Sunday News
Sukoluhle Ndlovu, Midlands Correspondent
DAIRY production in the Midlands Province has declined in the last two seasons owing to lack of feedlots, the Department of Crop and Livestock has said.
This comes at a time when the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) Midlands chapter has set a target of doubling milk production by 2022.
Midlands Province is one of the biggest dairy producers, boasting of two dairy processors, Dendairy and Dairibord.
In an interview, Midlands Provincial Crop and Livestock officer Mrs Medlinah Magwenzi said many feedlots have now been invaded by settlers.
“Since last year the milk volumes have been dwindling. The farms are becoming smaller every day due to resettlement. At the end of the day farmers have very limited area to grow grass for feeding their cattle,” she said.
Mrs Magwenzi said dairy farmers were also complaining of high cost of stock feed which was worsened by the poor rainy season.
“Dairy farmers in the province are complaining of high costs of stock feed following the price hikes. This has been worsened by the poor rainy season which resulted in herbage not attaining its maximum growth,” she said.
Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) Midlands chapter president, Mr Edward Warambwa was quoted saying his association has embarked on a number of initiatives to achieve its target and among them is increasing the provincial herd.
“We are targeting to double our milk volumes by 2022 and we have embarked on a number of initiatives. One such is the stability on dairy farms, calf rearing, importation of sexed semen and even importation of other dairy cows,” he said.
The province is the largest producer of milk, providing close to 25 percent of the country’s total milk volumes.
According to statistics, the country is averaging between 45 million and 55 million litres of milk per annum against a demand of 120 million litres of milk per annum.