Ms. Siyengiwe Machina a beef-dairy milk farmer, aggregator and member of the Kushinga Milk Producers Group in Hlomayi village, Ward 16, Gokwe South says she owes her steady dairy production success to persistence and timely delivery of her milk to the Gokwe Milk Collection Centre.
In 2016, Ms. Machina joined the Feed the Future Zimbabwe Livestock Development Programme to improve her milk production and delivery schedule.
She realised she was losing a significant amount of her milk to spoilage. She invested in a gas-powered refrigerator through a loan facilitated by Feed the Future Zimbabwe Livestock Development Programme to enable her to chill her milk to the required temperatures before delivery to the milk collection centre.
The refrigerator is also helping other dairy producers in her area, who can now sell their milk to Machina for aggregation and onward marketing to the MCC.
Welcoming a group of journalists from several media houses in Zimbabwe on a media tour organised by the Feed the Future Zimbabwe Livestock Development Programme, Village head Mr. Esau Hlomayi, who is a beef-dairy farmer himself, said dairy production in his village is facing a number of challenges chiefly the perennial water shortages as dairy is directly a function of availability of abundant clean water for the animals and for ensuring hygienic environments during milking.
Headman Hlomayi said most of the wells in his area have dried up or are giving very little water and farmers are forced to walk great distances to water their animals, risking injury on livestock along the way as the terrain is bad.
Mr. Tobias Chidhakwa, Ms. Siyengiwe Machina’s husband, said they are milking five cows yielding an average of 50 litres a day.
The cattle are fed a wide variety of locally available feeds like urea treated maize stover, sunn hemp, velvet bean, sorghum stover, and hay fortified with molasses.
Ms. Machina said she is working very hard to drill a borehole and is planning to sell about seven cattle to ensure she has a permanent water source so she can establish a horticulture project to complement her dairy project.
“We have lost many cows that have been falling in gullies in the area while looking for water to drink,” said Ms. Machina.
Ms. Machina encourages the farmers who supply her with milk to continue to work hard and produce high quality milk for both home consumption and for income.
By Francis S. Bingandadi Managing Editor AgriSeason