First half milk production marginally up

Zimbabwea��s dairy industry is beginning to show signs of recovery after raw milk production for the first half of 2014 went up marginally as the availability of stock feed as well as the number of heifers in the country increase.
Production was depressed in the first quarter as producers struggled with a shortage of stock feed exacerbated by the stifling economic situation.

Regional dairy officer Addmore Waniwa last month said the availability of harvested crop had positively impacted on affordability of stock feed and this would positively affect milk production in the first half and going forward.

Figures released by the Dairy Services Department in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation reveals that production for the six months to June was 26,7 million litres.

This was 1 percent higher than the same period last year. Retailers took up 23,9 million litres during the period under review up from 23,8 million in the same period last year. Milk retailed by producers totaled 2,8 million litres as compared to 2,6 million litres last year.

On a month-on-month basis, production for June was 3,52 percent up at 4,5 million from 4,3 million litres last year.

The countrya��s dairy industry has been struggling and this has resulted in dairy companies failing to meet national demand of 120 million litres per annum.

Last year, producers failed to meet the production targets of 70 million litres after recording 54,6 million litres of milk down from 55,9 million litres in the previous year.

The dairy industry is currently operating at 45 percent capacity with an estimated 223 registered dairy operators and a dairy herd of about 26 000 animals.

At its peak in 1999, Zimbabwe produced over 150 million litres of milk annually and was exporting into the region and beyond.a��BH24.