The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
The Transforming Zimbabwe’s Dairy Value-Chain for the Future (TranZDVC) project is building the capacities of dairy producers on good feeding practices to increase both the productivity of dairy cows and profitability.
The project is aiming for a 25 percent reduction in cost of feed through production of on-farm feeds and 30 percent reduction in cost of feed through implementation of cost-effective feed options.
According to the latest Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) newsletter, TranZDVC conducted a nationwide analysis on the contribution of feed to the total variable cost of milk production and the results showed that feed contributed the highest percentage of total variable costs (TVC) in the dairy value-chain.
“TranZDVC project conducted a nationwide analysis on the contribution of feed to the total variable cost of milk production. It was noted that on average, feed constitutes up to 70 percent of total variable costs (TVC) in the dairy value-chain.
“Protein is the most expensive but key ingredient for improved milk quality and quantity. Only about 55 percent of small-scale farmers are reported to be producing own feed for their dairy enterprises. To reduce the cost of feed, farmers need to increase own feed production,” said ZAGP.
It said that to counter the challenge, TranZDVC was building the capacities of dairy producers on good feeding practices to increase both the productivity of dairy cows and profitability.
In terms of the progress towards reducing feed costs, ZAGP said that arrangements had been made for bulk procurement of feeds through a tripartite arrangement involving dairy producers, milk processors and milk collection centres.
“At least 490 producers have benefitted from the arrangement. The large-scale processors involved are Dairibord Zimbabwe, Kefalos, Dendairy, Prodairy and Nestle Zimbabwe. Feedmix, National Foods, Country Feeds and Profeeds are the stock feed manufacturers involved. The dairy producers are saving about 5 percent on procurement of stock feed through bulk buying and shared transport costs.”
ZAGP said 10 fodder entrepreneurs invested in feed production equipment, while at least 95 hectares of silage was cultivated, processed and preserved for dairy producers.
It noted that over 500 tonnes of silage have been preserved for sale to dairy farmers and out-grower schemes with 425 farmers trained on dairy animal nutrition standards and cost-effective feed options.
ZAGP said that 120 lead farmers were capacitated with seed for 0.25 hectares each of forage cereal (maize or sorghum) and legume (velvet bean and cow pea) demo plots.
“An average of 5 tonnes of cereal silage and 0.75 tonnes legume hay was produced from the demo plots. Sourcing of stock feed raw materials for on-farm feed formulations. At least 730 tonnes of feed raw materials (cotton seed cake, wheat bran, maize bran, sunflower cake, soya meal/cake and molasses) procured to date,” added ZAGP.
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