HomeBusinessRocketing prices unsettle dairy farmers

Rocketing prices unsettle dairy farmers

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BY TANYARADZWA NHARI
THE Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF) says it is worried by stock feed price hikes, which could hit operations and margins.

The organisation said last week that it was concerned that profits were being redeployed into stock feed purchases.

ZADF chairman Ernest Muzorewa said: “The biggest challenge we have is the cost of feeds. The cost of stock feed is the biggest challenge we are facing at the moment, and 85% of the milk cheque goes to stock feed alone”.

To avert a crisis, dairy farmers said government supported them in the production of silage.

Last year, small-scale farmers were supported with inputs.

“Each farmer got five bags of Compound D and five bags of Ammonium Nitrate to plant one hectare of silage and that went a long way in reducing the cost of stock feed for the small holder farmers,” he said.

Muzorewa added that for large-scale farmers, command silage did not take off as expected due to late response from banks in terms of financing.

“The problem was the banks responded very late to the modalities of how they were going to finance and collect their monies,” he said.

“So we are hoping that this year we are going to have enough time to pick up from where we left and be able to do a better job this time.”

Milk production in the first five months of the year increased by 20% compared to the previous year.

He added that if growth recorded during the first quarter continued, farmers would register growth this year.

“In terms of the outlook, given that increase we expect to continue increasing, it’s very good in terms of outlook and I am sure we will have better figures by December this year,” Muzorewa added.

Funding secured from banks was not expensive, hence some farmers could not afford loans, he said.

“Funding is not cheap from banks and for a dairy farmer, where your price is not as good, you cannot go and borrow money at 50% and some 60%. The lowest (interest rate is) 45%. You can’t afford that level of interest,” he said.

According to statistics by ZADF, the industry was currently milking a herd of about 20 000 cows.

The organisation is hoping that the number would increase as other farmers have been increasing their herds.

In order to meet the nation’s demands, there was need to reach close to 40 000 cows, the data showed.

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