The heifer importation programme adopted by Dairibord Holdings limited in Zimbabwe is reported to have increased raw milk intake volumes at a time the country’s dairy sector faced a severe downturn due to the 2000 land reform programme
According to Anthony Mandiwanza, Dairibord Holdings chief executive officer, raw milk volumes purchased by the business increased by one per cent to 21.4mn litres from 21.2mn litres recorded in 2013.
“The growth was against a two per cent decline in national milk production from 55.9mn litres produced in 2012 to 54.7mn,” according to Mandiwanza.
Mandiwanza said the average price paid for a litre of raw milk in 2013 was 0.64 cents compared to 0.61 cents in 2012. He added that milk production in Zimbabwe remains highly uncompetitive negatively impacting costs of production.
The 250 heifers imported from South Africa in 2012 contributed three per cent of total raw milk intake for the company. Mandiwanza added that the heifer importation programme will be extended into 2014 with 90 heifers expected in the first quarter of 2014.
“The heifer importation programme will be up scaled in line with the group’s milk supply development objectives,” Mandiwanza said.
Dairibord Holdings chairman, Dr Leonard Tsumba said that given the challenges around milk production which include costs of stock-feeds and a stagnant dairy herd, the growth in milk production in the ensuing year remains stunted.
“The group will therefore pursue initiatives to grow its supply base. More resources will be directed at milk production as a critical survival strategy. To this end, an additional 90 heifers will be received in the first quarter of 2014, to give a targeted incremental raw supply of half a million litres per annum,” Tsumba said.