Zimbabwe milk output down 3pct in H1, likely to take a dip in 2020

By Almot Maqolo

Zimbabwe produced 37.56 million litres of raw milk in the first half of 2020, a 3% decline on last year’s corresponding period. In HY2019, the country’s raw milk stood at 38.88 million litres. Milk production in the country has since been on a steady increase since 2009.

Latest data from the Ministry of Agriculture’s dairy services department shows that milk intake by processors was down 3% to 33.97 million litres from 35.14 million litres in the same period in 2019. In the same vein, retailed milk by producers marginally declined from 3.62 million litres recorded in the prior period last year to 3.62 million litres.

The southern African nation’s monthly milk requirement stands at 10 million litres. In June 2020, raw milk production fell by 5.17% to 6.20 million litres compared from 6.58 million litres in the previous period. January output at 6.83 million litres is the highest so far followed by March output at 6.32 million litres. However, April output is ranked the lowest at 6.01 million litres – largely attributed to water shortages.

According to the 2020 First Round Crop and Livestock Assessment Report, dairy herd stands at 38 000, of which 12 000 are in milk production, producing an average of 14 litres per day per cow. “Given marketing challenges of milk brought by Covid-19 containment measures compounded by drought and shortage of foreign currency, milk production is expected to take a dip in 2020 for the first time in recent years to 92.3 million litres from 95.6 million litres,” Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said recently.

Zimbabwe’s milk output growth has been averaging 8.3% (68.94 million litres) in the last five years, with 2019 recording the highest output of 79.89 million litres despite the adverse effect of the El Nino induced drought, which had an impact on milk yields.

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