Zimbabwe will only be able to satisfy its milk demand in 2030, a cabinet minister has said.
The once agriculturally independent country is currently failing to meet its milk demand which is projected at 150 million litres per annum against the national milk collection of about 80 million litres.
In a speech read on his behalf by Midlands Provincial crop and livestock officer, Madeline Magwenzi in Kwekwe, Friday, Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri said the country could only meet the target in 2030 if it maintained a 14% milk supply growth per annum.
Government, according to Shiri, is currently promoting the revitalisation of the dairy sector through various growth initiatives as a strategy to improving milk quality and quantity in Zimbabwe.
“Government recognises and appreciates the initiatives and efforts by small holders in the dairy sector that have seen a steady growth in milk production from a low of 36 million in 2009 to 80 million litres in 2019 and is targeted for further growth,” he said.
Shiri however admitted that, “the current production is still short of the national demand of approximately 130 million litres per annum.
“Assuming the most aggressive growth of milk supply at 14% per annum, local milk supply is not expected to match demand until 2030 (due to very low current consumption levels which are increasing to match regional consumption).”
The current national dairy herd comprises of 27 053 pre-breeds and 11 947 cross breeds, giving a total of 39 000 dairy cows in Zimbabwe.
Of these, 18 000 cows are milking.
Zimbabwe is currently producing 6,2 million litres of milk per month and is targeting to produce over 80 million litres a year.
According to Minister Shiri, small scale and medium scale dairies are also contributing significantly to the national collection.
Said the minister, “Government has come up with various revitalisation programmes including the Zimbabwe Agriculture Growth Programme.
“Under the 11th European Development Fund, the European Union and the Zimbabwe government formulated the Zimbabwe Agriculture Growth Programme (ZAPG).
“The ZAPG with a budget of Euro 40 million, has several projects to contribute to the development of a diversified and efficient agriculture sector that promotes inclusive green economic growth.
“ZAPG received a total of 7,000 Euros of which 90% was funded by the European Union and the bulk came from We Effect Co-Financing.
“This action aims to address the root cause of underperformance in the Dairy Value Chain in Zimbabwe by strengthening the linkages between production, processing and financing.”