DAIRIBORD Zimbabwe Ltd (DZL) is operating at between 15 and 20% capacity amid reports of significantly low raw milk output from farmers.
DZL chief executive officer Anthony Mandiwanza this week said low delivery of milk was affecting the companyâ€™s production.
â€œAt present Dairibord is operating at between 10 and 20% and that is a major challenge for us. Delivery of milk from farmers is significantly low and that needs to be changed,â€ he said.
Mandiwanza would not reveal the volume of sales saying this would be disclosed at the coming annual general meeting later in the month.
â€œI cannot disclose that (volume of sales) as it might not go down well with out shareholders. Letâ€™s wait for the AGM scheduled for May 28,â€ he said.
Over the past years raw milk production has faced major challenges.
In February 2000, when the then controversial land reform programme started, the national herd numbered about 1,4 million. Â
Since then, more than 4 000 commercial farms have been seized, the herd is estimated to be less than 140 000 and numbers are falling fast and macro-economic turbulence have all weighed on production, processing and distribution of milk.
The dairy sector has also suffered a crippling labour shortage as many farm workers have left the farms or are demanding higher salaries, resulting in very high staff turnover.
Most of the farmers who took over the dairy farms were said to have limited knowledge of dairy and beef farming.
Mandiwanza said there was need for government to resuscitate programmes aimed at boosting the national herd.
He said the tripartite arrangement should involve DZL, banks and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
He said although more than 1 000 herd of cattle were recently bought the â€œfigures still remain lowâ€.
The company attributes low production to reduced milk supplies from farmers.
Asked on the plans of Democratic Peopleâ€™s Republic of Korea officials who toured Dairibord on Tuesday, Mandiwanza said: â€œIt is too early to come up with a definite response as they have not expressed anything to us.â€
DPRK Minister of Trade Ri Ryong Nam toured Dairibord Zimbabwe and Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries on Tuesday.
BY NQOBILE BHEBHE