By Kudzanai Sharara
Investments made in the dairy sector at both farm and processing level coupled with the implementation of SI64, have seen the amount spent on importation of milk and milk-based products reduce significantly in the last few years. According to Zimbabwe Dairy Industry Trust chairman Theodora Marimo, the country used to spend approximately $22 million per month in 2014 to import milk, but this has since come down to $7 million in 2017 due to the investments that have been made in the value chain.
Presenting the state of the dairy industry at the 5th Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers annual general meeting held earlier this week Mrs Marimo said investments made across the dairy value chain have also seen exports of milk products increase from 82, 097 in 2014 to 392, 997 in 2017.
“In 2014 the country was spending $22 million per month to import powdered milk and other milk-related products but this has since come down to $7 million.
She said major investments were made at farm level following the importation of 400 calf heifers from South Africa in September 2016 while more investments were made in 2018.
More investments have also been made on the processing side with $32 million dollars having been invested to upgrade equipment and machinery and through new players since September 2015.
The country now boasts of seven large processors and 28 small processors. Small scale farmers now number 520. The investments have helped close the supply gap, which has seen a reduction in imports.
“Various interventions have seen a steady growth in milk production from a low of 37 million litres in 2014 to 68 million litres in 2017.
“Average annual growth is 10 percent and still falls far short of demand,” Mrs Marimo.
She also attributed some of the gains in the sector to the introduction of SI64 and SI122.