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Zimbabwe’s first quarter raw milk production declined marginally from the same period last year as the country’s dairy industry continue to struggle under the current liquidity crunch.

Figures released by the Dairy Services Department in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation reveals that production went down 1,9 percent to 13 million litres in 2014 from 13, 3 million litres in 2013. For the past decade, the country’s dairy industry has been struggling and this has resulted in dairy companies failing to meet national demand of 120 million litres per annum.

As a result, the country remains a net importer of milk to cover for the deficit importing at least 10 million litres of milk every month.

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.

Intake by milk processors in the first quarter went down to 11,7 million litres from 12 million litres in 2013.

On a month on month basis, production went down 4,1 percent in January 2014 from 4,8 million litres to 4,6 million litres in the reviews period. In February, production decreased by 3,5 percent from 4,1 million litres in the previous year to 3,9 million litres in 2014.

However, figures for March showed a 2 percent increase from 4,4 million in 2013 to 4,5 million litres this 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. – BH24.

Source : The Herald