ZIMBABWE’S milk production continued to register steady positive growth, registering a 10% increase for the nine months to September 2019, a new report has revealed.

In its latest report, the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (Lmac) revealed that between January and September 2019, milk production amounted to 59,8 million litres compared to 54,3 million litres collected in the same period in 2018.

The producers had set a yearly target of 100 million litres.

“All months of the year registered growth when compared with the corresponding period in 2018, with February and October registering the largest increase of 13 and 15%, respectively,” the report read in part.

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Zimbabwe is importing about 30 million litres of milk from South Africa to supplement local supplies.

Annually, the southern African nation requires at least 120 million litres of milk.

Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers chairperson Kudzai Chirima recently told NewsDay that the major challenges they were facing included stockfeed shortages, high cost of drugs and chemicals.

Some of their requirements include foreign currency, vaccines, cleaning detergents, semen for artificial insemination and equipment.

Dairy farmers are also struggling to access funding from banks because of the punitive interest rates on any loans availed to them.

Due to these challenges, milk production levels have dramatically plummeted from the early 1990s peak of 260 million litres per year to 75,4 million which was achieved in 2018.

In 2017, milk production stood at 66 million litres. Government is targeting to increase milk production by between 97 million and 100 million litres per annum.

To help boost production, government, in partnership with We Effect Zimbabwe and other partners, last year launched a four-year dairy revival project worth about US$8 million.