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Ministry of Lands, Agriculture & Rural Resettlement - Zimbabwe

dairy herd

The dairy industry in Zimbabwe is governed by The Dairy Act of 1977. Historically, Zimbabwe produced the most milk in 1987 when it produced two hundred and sixty two (262m) million litres of milk. Production as of 2016 was 57 million litres against an annual demand of 180 million litres. Consequently, Zimbabwe has a milk deficit of approximately 130 million litres.

Processing Capacity

The country has processing capacity for 300 million litres per year. As of 2016, capacity utilisation stood at 30% which was in line with the general capacity utilization across all industries in the country. The major milk processors in the country are:

Dairy Production

Producers are clustered into commercial farmers and smallholder farmers with a medium category made up of small scale commercial farmers. Herd size, which generally determines the scale of operations determines the cluster into which a farmer falls. Smallholder producers have small herds, normally averaging 3 cows per farmer.

Commercial Farmers

Commercial farmers are characterised by large scale dairy production. Large scale dairy farming began in a formally distinguishable manner in 1910 on large farms with high yeilding cows and their hybrids. The land reform exercise in 2000 forced targeted large scale dairy farms to sell their dairy herd. Consequently registered large scale dairy farmers dropped from 314 in 2000 to 165 in 2012.

commercial dairy farmers are usually registered with the National Association of Dairy Farmers, which is an affiliate of the Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe.

Post harvest losses within this cluster of farmers is low given the scale of operations, which have enabled them to develop the requisite infrastructure for the storage, preservation and transportation of dairy products. It is not uncommon for farmers in this cluster to have processing facilities on the farm.

Smallholder Farmers

Smallholder dairy production in Zimbabwe was initiated after independence by the Dairy Marketing Board(now Dairibord Zimbabwe Private Limited) before the programme was handed over to the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) under the Dairy Development Programme (DDP). The programme focuses on reducing poverty through increasing incomes from milk production. Smallholder dairy farmers’ contribution has however remained insignificant at 2% measured as a contribution to the national milk pool. Only six Milk Producer Associations have been able to produce sufficient quantities to deliver to a processor.

Subsistence Farmers

It is within these two later clusters of smallholder and subsistence farmers that the issues of post harvest loss are most prevelant. As such, the strategies presented here, though not excluding the commercial farmers, are primarily aimed at assisting farmers in these two clusters.

Major Dairy Breeds In Zimbabwe

Post Harvest Issues of Milk

It must be noted that a lot of the problems that normally manifest themselves post harvest have their genesis in the production cycles that precede harvesting. A lot of the problems can thus be prevented by adopting good production practices. The common post harvest issues that compromise the quality of milk and associated products in Zimbabwe are listed below.

Mastitis Induced Poor Milk Quality

What is Mastitis

Mastitis results from the bacterial infection of a cow's teat canal, or sometimes by chemical, mechanical, or thermal trauma on the udder. As a result, milk-secreting tissue and various ducts throughout the mammary gland are damaged due to toxins released by the bacteria resulting in reduced milk yield and quality. This disease can be identified by abnormalities in the udder such as swelling, heat, redness, hardness, or pain if the mastitis is clinical. Other indications of mastitis may be abnormalities in milk such as a watery appearance, flakes, or clots.

What are are the Issues

Mastitis can cause a decline in potassium and lactoferrin. It also results in decreased casein, the major protein in milk. As most calcium in milk is associated with casein, the disruption of casein synthesis contributes to lowered calcium in milk. The milk protein continues to undergo further deterioration during processing and storage. Milk from cows with mastitis also has a higher somatic cell count. In general, the higher the somatic cell count, the lower the milk quality.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastitis_in_dairy_cattle
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastitis_in_dairy_cattle

Water and Other Adulteration of Milk

What is Adulteration

Adulteration of milk occurs when there is introduction of foreign substances into marketable milk, oftentimes for economic purposes. When water is used as the adulterant, sometimes a small amount of coloring matter is added to retain the natural colour of milk.

What are are the Issues

Apart from the obvious ethical and economic issues, milk adulteration creates health hazards. Some of these are renal and skin diseases, eye and heart problems and may also lead to cancer.

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/155109/10/10_chapter%201.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastitis_in_dairy_cattle

Failure to Observe Safety Periods After use of Veterinary Medicines

What is it?

Most veterinary medicines require that there be a period of time before one starts milking their cows after treatment. Sometimes and for whatever reasons, those waiting periods are not observed resulting in traces of those chemicals or their by-products being detectable in milk.

What are are the Issues

The impact of not observing waiting periods are much the same as those for adulteration of milk as these chemicals can be a health hazard to humans.

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/155109/10/10_chapter%201.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastitis_in_dairy_cattle

Lack of Cold Chain Facilities

What is it?

Most veterinary medicines require that there be a period of time before one starts milking their cows after treatment. Sometimes and for whatever reasons, those waiting periods are not observed resulting in traces of those chemicals or their by-products being detectable in milk.

What are are the Issues

The impact of not observing waiting periods are much the same as those for adulteration of milk as these chemicals can be a health hazard to humans.

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/155109/10/10_chapter%201.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastitis_in_dairy_cattle

Lack of Capacity for Testing for Antibiotics

What is it?

Much like failure by farmers to wait the requisite period of time to harvest milk after administration of veterinary medicines, the lack of testing capacity among farmers is such that where perhaps the recommended waiting period fails to clear the medicines in the animal's system, farmers will go on to milk their cows while the medicines are still in the system.

What are are the Issues

Much like failure to wait until veterinary medicines clear in the cows' system to milk can be a health hazard to humans.

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/155109/10/10_chapter%201.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastitis_in_dairy_cattle

Quality of Products Produced at Milk Collection Centres (MCCs)

What is it?

For smallholder farmers who individually lack the capacity to erect the requisite infrastructure for milk processing, communal milk collection centers have been established where products from the production pool are aggregated for processing.

What are are the Issues

The quality of the products are sometimes inferior to those that are produced by large dairy processing companies such that they are difficult to market.

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/155109/10/10_chapter%201.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastitis_in_dairy_cattle

Poor Storage Practices at Retail

What is it?

Most dairy products require controlled climates for optimal storage and shelf life. Poor storage practices and facilities at retail level lead to losses of products.

What are are the Issues

The quality of the products are sometimes inferior to those that are produced by large dairy processing companies such that they are difficult to market.

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/155109/10/10_chapter%201.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastitis_in_dairy_cattle

Informal Markets

What is it?

Most dairy products require controlled climates for optimal storage and shelf life. Poor storage practices and facilities at retail level lead to losses of products.

What are are the Issues

The quality of the products are sometimes inferior to those that are produced by large dairy processing companies such that they are difficult to market.

http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/155109/10/10_chapter%201.pdf
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastitis_in_dairy_cattle
what is the state of the industry
what is best practice
available data and statistics
Available technologies
Educational material
some important contacts