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Livestock Feed, A Headcache For Dairy Farmers

By Steve Ephraem

Livestock feed is a headache for most smallholder commercial dairy farmers in the country. This was revealed by the deputy minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Hon Vangelis Haritatos during the official launch of Presidential and Command (NEAPS) silage and pasture schemes for enhanced milk production in Chipinge which took place on 13 January 2022 at Mafumise Primary School.

In his speech, Hon Haritatos indicated that despite the dairy sector recovering and recording a 10.28 percent growth in 2020, stock feed is still a headache for most smallholder farmers.

“Zimbabwe has been on the recovery path recording 76.7 million litres in 2020 with an average annual growth of 10.28 percent.

“The smallholder dairy sector’s contribution declined to 4 percent, from 5 percent and the average production of milk per cow has reduced to 7 litres per day from 12 litres per day.

“The focus for all dairy value chain actors is on rebuilding both the large, medium and smallholder dairy sector.

“The major challenges for the sector include, but are not limited to, feed which now accounts for over 70-80 percent of the cost of production (as well as) poorly developed climate proofing facilities, irrigation and pasture development,” said Hon Haritatos.

The deputy minister further outlined that the livestock feed headache shall soon be a challenge is the past.

“Recently, government approved the access of inputs, mechanisation and irrigation facilities by Small Scale and Large Scalle Dairy Farmers and National Enhanced Agriculture Productivity Scheme (NEAPS) or Command Agriculture for the first time to boost milk production in the country,” he added.

Hon Haritatos had a tour of Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited’s Chipinge depot where sterilised milk is processed in the country. He also had a tour of small holder dairy farmer Peter Manjokwe’s farm to witness how dairy farmers are faring in Chipinge. Finally, he distributed inputs to officially launch the Presidential and Command (NEAPS) silage and pasture schemes for enhanced milk production in Chipinge.