Zimbabwe’s dairy sector has blamed its woes on the country’s 2000 land reform programme.
Addressing a Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union livestock symposium in Bulawayo on Friday, a dairy farmer, Benedict Moyo, said the land reform programme had led production levels to fall by more than half to the current 48 million litres.
Moyo is a senior official at the National Association of Dairy Farmers.
He said the dairy sector is facing a number of challenges, most of which stemmed from the fast-track resettlement programme in 2000 that reportedly displaced scores of white commercial farmers who were major milk producers.
“Due to the land invasions, farmers have a lot of uncertainty in their minds and this has led to the drastic decline of the dairy farming industry. We used to export milk to Zambia and South Africa and now we are importing it from those countries,” said Moyo.
He said before 2000, the country had 314 milk producers, but the figure has fallen to 165.
“An insecure future is hampering dairy farming and has led to the serious shortage of dairy animals. The few available farmers experience crippling electricity outages which have affected milk production in the country.”
He said his association has started importation of semen and other cattle breeds from Namibia, South Africa and Zambia to ensure restocking of the country’s dairy herd.