THE Zimbabwe Diary Farmers’ Association (ZDFA) has struck a $500 000 restocking deal with a United States-based financier Landlackes for Matabeleland region farmers.
The dairy head has been decimated in the past few years due to a myriad of problems bedevilling the sector and the generality of the country’s economy, including drought and lack of local funds to restock.
ZDFA Matabeleland chapter president Benedict Moyo said they were targeting distributing 300 dairy cattle in the region, saying it would be the first phase of the restocking exercise which is being financed through a revolving fund. He said the first batch of cows, estimated to each cost $1 500, has been distributed to 26 farmers.
According to part of the arrangement of the $500 000 revolving fund, farmers are expected to pay back for the cattle within a period of three years with no interest charged.
“We want to resuscitate the dairy industry which rapidly declined after the land reform programme. We have partnered with Landlackes, a America-based organisation financed by USAID (United States Agency for International Development) for the restocking exercise and we are targeting small, medium and large-scale farmers” he added.
Moyo said after the chaotic Zanu PF land reform programme, milk production in the country dropped from 21 million litres per month to 4,2 million litres. The cash-strapped government has been struggling since 2000 to finance the recapitalisation of the dairy industry.
The land reform saw hundreds of predominantly white commercial farmers forcibly removed from their farms leading to declining agriculture production in the country.