THE Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) says it will import at least 1 000 heifers next year to boost milk production currently hovering at around six million litres per month, an official has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
ZADF chairperson Kudzai Chirima told NewsDay in an interview recently that the heifers would be imported between March and April.
“Let’s say from next year, because you can’t bring calves now because of the rainy season and diseases are a problem to control. So, we are looking at about March or April. We are anticipating that we should have at least 1 000 new heifers arriving into the country. We are looking at 15 litres a cow per day, and that’s a lot of milk,” Chirima said.
“With 1 000 (cows) each one giving you 15 litres per day, the lowest you are looking at 15 000 litres. So if you take that 15 000 and multiply it by 30, you are looking at 450 000 litres (per month), which is almost half a million,” he said.
Chirima said in August this year, milk production totalled 6,8 million litres, up 17% compared to the same period last year.
“So it looks like there is an average increase of a million every month. Our target is to meet 120 million litres, and we are saying that because of the initiative that has been taken. We are thinking that by December, we should be going to about 7,5 million litres a month,” Chirima said.
“But we have a major problem now because the cost of everything, including feeds has gone up to $460 a tonne and that’s a lot. There are no drugs at all for the calves. So this will start affecting our production line now,” he said.
The country has been averaging between 45 million and 60 million litres of milk per year over the last three years, against a national demand of 120 million litres of milk per annum.
Government is targeting milk production to rise to between 97 million, to 100 million litres per annum by 2019.