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Dairy farmers call for price reviews

Pindai Dube

ZIMBABWE’S dairy farmers have called for a review of the government’s imposed milk prices, saying they were facing huge operational costs that co

uld push them out of business.

Ezra Ndlovu, chairman of the National Association of Dairy Producers in Matabeleland, said gazetted milk prices were too low.

Ndlovu indicated that the association held a meeting on Tuesday to map strategies of how to push for a review of milk prices, currently pegged at $210 per litre.

Association members are pushing for a review of the price to $389 per litre.

Ndlovu said a price of $389 per litre would enable producers to break even at the same time improving dwindling milk supplies on the market.

The last review of the price of milk was in September, but Ndlovu said inflation had pushed input costs up and eroded margins.

“We are not satisfied with the price of milk because some manufacturers increased the stock feeds some weeks ago,” said Ndlovu.

“We are appealing to milk processors to review the price because the season we are approaching is harsh as we are preparing to grow some crops for the cattle. We also need to procure other raw materials and we can only do so when we have the capital.”

The country’s national herd currently stands at 25 600.

Ndlovu said that dairy farmers were encountering shortages of stock feed.

“Stock feeds are in short supply. The country produces high cotton output but there is a shortage of cotton cake, which is a by-product. The situation at hand is that middlemen are creating unnecessary shortages,” he said.

“We are calling upon the Government to ban these people so that the crop moves in the right channels from cotton farmers to ginneries and finally to the oil expressers.”

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