PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his family are now the leading producers of milk in the country and expect to export dairy products in future, an official said yesterday.
Richard Muponde, Senior Reporter
Mugabe’s family owns Alpha Omega Dairy Farm, which is a subsidiary of Gushungo Holdings in Mazowe.
Yesterday United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) delegates, among them local journalists from both the State and private media, were taken on a tour of the dairy farm, and Amai Mugabe Primary School and Orphanage.
Stanley Nhari, the general manager of the dairy, said they wanted to satisfy the local market first before venturing into exports.
“We are the leading milk producer in the country and we are not in a hurry to export the milk, but we would need to first see that we have supplied the local market,” he said.
“If we manage to achieve that, we would be then looking for an outside market.”
Mugabe was given the go-ahead to export milk by the Agriculture ministry led by Joseph Made who was also present during the tour.
His farm has 1 200 dairy cows and it produces 30 000 litres of milk a day.
The dairy plant has a capacity of 70 000 litres of raw milk per day and it employs 52 people.
The company produces brands such as Mnandi sour milk and flavours of Appertina yoghurt. Speaking during the tour, First Lady Grace Mugabe said the dairy was capable of satisfying the local market.
“Very soon we will be venturing into producing icecream and UHT milk which can stay longer on shelves in the rural areas before it goes bad,” she said.
“At the moment we are only producing pasteurised milk which does not take long before it goes sour. These are the projects we are engaged in at the moment.”
She also took the UNWTO delegates on a tour of her controversial multi-million dollar primary school and orphanage.
Grace said she also planned to establish a secondary school and a university in the same area.
“Initially the project of building the orphanage was muted in 2007 with plans to build 75 state-of-the-art houses with five bedrooms each with a holding capacity 30 children per house,” she said.
“However, funds could not permit and we later managed to build only 30 houses.”
Mugabe’s dairy project was marred in controversy when Nestlé stopped buying his milk after the Swiss-based company bowed to pressure from international human rights groups.