Ban milk imports, small dairy farmers

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SMALL holder dairy farmers in Mutasa Honde Valley area on Friday said government should put a ban on all imported dairy products in the country as they were negatively impacting on the growth of the sector.
Dairy farmers told government officials during a meeting that the state should ban foreign dairy products from flooding the local market and start supporting the local sector to boost production.
Zimbabwe is importing 60 percent of its milk from South Africa.
“Government should ban all diary imports in the country because they are impacting on the growth of the country`s dairy sector. Local farmers should be supported so that they can boost production,” said Amos Chitungo, one of the small holder dairy farmers.
According to statistics from the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF), the current national herd stands at 5,3 million but only 0.05 percent (26 502) are dairy cows who produce only 54 million litres per annum as compared to 256 million litres in 1990.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development deputy minister, Paddy Zhanda said government will not put a blanket  ban on milk imports but was working with all stakeholders to come up with initiatives to reduce milk imports under a Dairy Resuscitation Committee (DRC) which is being spearheaded by Zimbabwe Dairy Industry Trust (ZDIT).
“We are an agro based economy and we cannot continue to import milk. We have a deficit of 66 million litres which is being imported from South Africa. We need to support our commercial and small scale farmers which are in the livestock and diary production,” said Zhanda.
According to ZADF, Manicaland province is currently contributing 18 percent towards milk production. There are 26 dairy registered processors in Manicaland province.Advertisement