The Sunday News
Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Midlands Correspondent
THE Government has asked dairy farmers in the country to submit a proposal to be incorporated into the Command Dairy programme in an endeavour to increase milk production in the country and reduce the import bill.
Zimbabwe is importing about 30 million litres of milk from South Africa to supplement dairy farmers who are producing approximately 150 million litres annually.
In an interview, Midlands Dairy Farmers chairperson, Mr Douglas Msipa said Zimbabwe Dairy Farmers’ Association was in the process of coming up with a proposal at the behest of Government so that dairy farmers would be incorporated into the Command Agriculture Scheme that was tailor-made to avert hunger and ensure food security at household level.
Mr Msipa said dairy farmers were making frantic efforts to ensure that they meet the national annual milk demand. He said farmers had made significant strides in dairy farming.
“Government has helped us in so many ways before. We know there is a policy to spare dairy farms from the land redistribution exercise. This time Government has asked us to submit a proposal so that we will be incorporated into Command Agriculture. We understand Government wants to introduce Command Dairy which will help us enhance productivity. We have a national demand of 180 million litres of milk against our collective production capacity of 150 million litres per year. Midlands is one of the largest milk producers producing 8 million litres per month,” he said.
Mr Msipa said milk production has improved since last year despite poor rainfall received in the last summer cropping season which resulted in scarcity of pastures.
“We improved on milk production by about 4 million litres this year as compared to last year. This is despite the scarcity of pastures which we believed resulted from poor rains that we received last year. If our farmers benefit from Command Dairy, we have no doubt that we will meet the national demand and reduce the Government export bill,” he said.