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Dairy farmers in Manicaland are optimistic that Zimbabwe can double milk production in the next five years and reduce the national supply gap of about 65 million litres per day if the sector continues to enjoy support to boost milk output.

Zimbabwe’s dairy sector is producing about 65 million litres of milk against an average daily milk requirement of 130 million litres resulting in the country importing half of the national requirement with the country spending an average of US$7 million monthly to import milk powder and milk products.

Greater Sasol farm owner in Old Mutare Alan Franklin says a round table approach between government, financiers and manufacturers is needed to accelerate the revival of the sector that used to produce 256 million litres per day during the glory days in 1990.

Franklin says capacitation of medium and large milk producers is a necessity in the short term while capacitating small dairy farmers is a long-term plan, adding that a large re-investment for the sector to catch up with the global technological development is also required as the sector is almost 15 years behind in that regard.

“The country can be self-sustainable in milk production in the next five years if the sector continues to enjoy support with more resources expected to quicken the revival process. Economic stability is, however, a major determinant factor to boost diary industry viability,” said Franklin.

Lamour Estate manages Bauren Dzuda says the biggest dairy cost drive is stock feed, which accounts for up to 70 percent of milk production costs with vaccines also on the import list bill, adding that artificial insemination is a necessity to improve breeds by small scale farmers whose cattle generally produce less milk.

“There is need to facilitate the importation of stock feeds and vaccines as they are critical in boosting milk supply. There is need for artificial insemination to boost production by small scale farmers,” Dzuda said.

The government launched the diary revitalisation programme as part of efforts to boost productivity among other efforts to revive the dairy industry.

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