Livestock Research for Rural Development 28 (6) 2016 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

A review of smallholder dairy development in Zimbabwe 1983 to 2013: the effect of policies

T Chamboko and E Mwakiwa

Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, University of Zimbabwe, P.O. Box MP 167, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe


At independence in 1980, large scale commercial farmers supplied all the milk that entered formal marketing channels. Although milk was produced in the communal areas, this was mainly for subsistence purposes. In order to encourage the participation of previously disadvantaged groups in formal markets, government in smallholder dairying initiated the smallholder dairy development programme. This programme was meant to promote farmers’ participation in commercial dairy production and marketing and to achieve the growth with equity objective adopted at independence. The objectives of this paper are to (1) critically examine the national milk intake trends against major policies and (2) assess the extent policies affected milk intake and the extent to which each policy contributed to variations in milk intake at the national, smallholder level and at selected smallholder dairy schemes. A review of literature and analysis of published, unpublished reports and documents, and statistics is performed.

Trend analysis results show that policies had an effect on national and smallholder milk intake. Although milk intake increased during Economic Structural Adjustment Programme, it decreased in subsequent periods. There is therefore need to capacitate both the smallholder and large scale farmers in order for them to increase production. This could be achieved through dairy production incentives. In the smallholder sector, although there have been efforts by both government and development partners to support smallholder dairying over the years, this sector have failed to make significant contribution to the national economy. There is therefore, need to reassess the development model of smallholder dairy and value chain development in order to unpack the potential contribution of this sector to the national economy.

Key words: Africa, government, marketing


The agricultural sector in Zimbabwe supports the livelihoods of approximately 70% of the population, and contributes approximately 18% of GDP (ZimStat 2013). In the 1990s, the agricultural sector was estimated to support about 60% of manufacturing activities. The dairy subsector is an important component of the agricultural sector, with dairy produce contributing about 3% of the value of agricultural production at year 2012 prices (ZimStat 2013). Most of the contribution of the dairy subsector comes from large scale commercial farms. In the smallholder areas, besides income from the sale of milk, dairying contributes to the food security and poverty reduction for households residing in the rural areas.

The consumption of milk in both the rural and urban areas has largely followed the trends in national production. National milk production over the years has steadily declined from a peak of 260 million litres in 1991 to the current 54 million litres (MAMID 2014). As a result, per capita milk consumption in Zimbabwe is reported to be 8 litres against peak levels of 25 litres (NewsDay 2012). These levels of milk consumption are generally low compared to regional countries such as South Africa (56 litres per capita) and Zambia (10 litres per capita) (NewsDay 2012). The Government over the years has implemented a number of policies, some supportive of dairy production, while others have had the opposite effect. One of the major policies was to broaden the milk supply base through the creation of the smallholder dairy development programme in 1983 that allowed participation of smallholder farmers.

Other broad policies which were implemented by the Government included: single milk market channel inherited from the colonial government and implemented just after independence in 1980; the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) which commenced in 1991; the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP) which commenced in the year 2000; and the dollarization which was implemented as from the year 2009. These policies had some effects on the dairy industry just like the other sectors of Zimbabwe’s economy (USAID 2012). However, the effects of the different policies are not very clear in terms of the extent to which they affected or influenced the dairy sector in Zimbabwe.

Dairying in Zimbabwe has long been the preserve of Large Scale Commercial (LSC) farmers. At independence in 1980, LSC farmers supplied all the milk entering the formal marketing channels. Although milk was also produced in the communal areas, this was mainly for subsistence purposes (Chavhunduka 1982). The major distinction between the large scale commercial and the smallholder sector that comprises communal, small scale commercial and resettlement areas was that LSC farmers mainly kept exotic dairy breeds which have better milk yields compared to smallholder sector where indigenous breeds with low milk yields were kept (Chavhunduka 1982). This paper gives an outline of smallholder dairy development in Zimbabwe for the period 1983 to 2013.

Objectives of the Paper

The Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (2012) reports that processors’ estimate the national requirement for raw milk in Zimbabwe at 10 million litres per month. The total national raw milk intake for 2011 was about 5 million litres per month which gives a shortfall of approximately 5 million litres per month. The highest ever raw milk intake was 260 million litres per annum achieved in 1991. Since then, the national milk intake has been on a downward trend culminating in the current low milk intake. Smallholder farmers only contribute 5% of the national intake. While there are various reasons given for this low milk intake, including the impact of policies, smallholder farmers have not been able to make a significant contribution to the national milk intake. The objectives of this paper therefore are to (1) critically examine the national milk intake trends against major policies, and (2) to assess the extent policies affected milk intake and the extent to which each policy contributed to variations in milk intake at the national, smallholder level and at selected smallholder dairy schemes.

Materials and methods

A review of literature and analysis of published, unpublished reports and documents, and statistics was performed in order to assess the effect of policies and identify constraints in the smallholder dairy subsector. In order to assess the effect of policies on national and smallholder level milk intake, the major policies were classified into four distinct periods. The period 1980 to 1989 was classified as the single channel marketing period in which the Dairy Marketing Board (DMB) held monopoly in the purchase, distribution, and trade in dairy products. The period 1990 to 1999 was classified as the period when the government implemented the economic structural adjustment programme (ESAP) that led to the privatization of the DMB in 1993, and the participation of other private players. The year 2000 saw government implementing the fast track land redistribution programme that was accompanied by contraction of the economy, eventually leading to hyperinflation in the years 2007 to 2008. The dairy sector remained deregulated during this period. The last class period is from 2009 to present when the government introduced the multiple currency systems or dollarization. The major hypothesis is that milk production intake depends on the policies that were implemented by government during the respective periods. This study therefore examines smallholder dairy development within the context of the policy frameworks since 1980, analysis of trends and comparative analysis of smallholder within the context of national milk intake and trends.

The study will initially present an overall trend analysis of national milk intake (large and small farmers) and for the smallholder intake levels and the trend will be discussed accordingly. In addition to the trend analysis of national milk intake, the group differences will be performed from 1980 to 2013, within the context of the policy framework periods in order to assess the effects of the policies on milk production intake. The groups will be based on policy periods already highlighted – the first group will be the “single market channel” covering the years 1980 to 1989; the second group will be “ESAP era” covering the years 1990 to 1999; the third group will be the “Land Reform era” covering the years 2000 to 2008; and finally the fourth group would be the “Dollarization era” covering 2009 to 2013. The average milk intake for these policy periods will be analyzed in the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16 to check if there have been any significant differences in milk intake between the policy periods. The analysis will use one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and interactive bar graphs. If the ANOVA is significant, multiple comparison tests using the Tukey post-hoc multiple comparison test will be performed to check for significant differences between policy periods, and to show which policy periods differed significantly from each other in influencing milk production. The ANOVA methodology will be used for analysis of the milk production at national level, smallholder level and for selected smallholder dairy schemes. Due to differential data availability, there would be limited analysis in terms of policy periods for smallholder milk production and some schemes to be analyzed.


Review of Literature on Developments in Milk Production in Zimbabwe
Large Scale Commercial Dairying

Large Scale Commercial dairying in Zimbabwe dates back to 1910 when the colonial government took steps to stimulate dairy farming (Muzuva 1989; Mupeta 2000). The government put in place extension and milk production training services. Milk production expanded over the years and this was mainly handled by producer cooperatives and the first milk processing plant was established in Gweru in 1912. In 1947, the government introduced the Milk Subsidy Committee to enable consumers to access milk. However, by 1949, the producer cooperatives were facing financial difficulties. There were serious disruptions in the handling and distribution of milk and milk products and serious seasonal shortages. The colonial government came under pressure from the white urban consumers to improve on availability of milk. The white urban consumers also questioned the introduction of the Milk Subsidy Committee since consumers could not get the milk. This forced the government, under pressure from the predominantly white farming electorate, to set up a Milk Marketing Committee. The purpose of the committee was to directly purchase milk from producers and resell to distributors. In order to improve on the availability of milk and milk products to consumers, the government in 1952 set up the Dairy Marketing Board (DMB) to purchase all milk and dairy products, process, distribute and import, as well as to erect and operate milk processing plants (Muzuva 1989).

According to Muzuva (1989) the1960s period was marked by milk supply and demand problems which necessitated the government to set up a Commission of Inquiry into the dairy industry. The commission in its 1961 report concluded that the official policy to stimulate milk production was fundamentally in accord with the post war economic climate in the country. Supply in the 1960s was growing faster than demand and this forced the government to come up with alternative marketing strategies. In an effort to stimulate milk consumption by the urban black population, skimmed milk derived from butter manufactured for the urban white consumers was used to produce lacto (dairy “sawa”) for provision on welfare schemes for black children attending nursery schools. In addition, a network of depots was set up in the high density areas where predominantly the black population resided. These measures resulted in a high off take of milk and milk products.

At independence in 1980, the new majority government inherited the milk and milk products production and marketing that was dominated by white LSC farms and marketed through the DMB. However, the government faced a situation similar to the colonial government post second world war situation of improved purchasing power and increased access to milk by outlying areas (Muzuva 1989). Exports had to be interrupted in order to accommodate increase in domestic milk sales. However, it should be noted that the increased demand was based on uneconomically low consumer prices due to the policy of subsidies that was maintained by the government in early years of independence (Muir-Leresche and Muchopa 2006).

Why smallholder dairying after independence?

The Government of Zimbabwe adopted the growth with equity objective at independence in 1980 (Zimbabwe Government 1981). In order to fulfill this objective, the Government of Zimbabwe in 1980 embarked on a programme to promote the participation of previously disadvantaged groups in formal markets (Muir 1994). Previously, dairying was dominated by LSC farmers with little participation of small scale commercial and communal farmers in dairying production and marketing. A commission of Enquiry into the Agricultural Industry in 1982 indicated that milk production in the communal areas was mainly for subsistence purposes, and exotic breeds were not kept and the yields were very low (Chavhunduka 1982).

Evolution of Smallholder Dairying

The analysis of smallholder dairying cannot be separated from the development of the Dairy Development Programme (DDP). This programme started as the Peasant Sector Development Programme (PSDP) then under the DMB in 1983 following a directive from the government on all parastatals to promote the participation of indigenous Zimbabweans in sectors which had previously been dominated by predominantly white large scale commercial interests (DDP 1997). DMB saw this as an opportunity to create strong linkages between its primary producers in order to add value to the primary product. DMB also saw this as an opportunity to secure and expand the raw milk production supply base due to increased demand for milk in both urban and rural areas after independence. This increased demand was not matched by an increase in the production base. The main reason was that the production base inherited at independence of approximately 500 LSC dairy producers was no longer able to cope with the increased national milk demand.

The First Communal Farming Area Dairy Scheme

Following on from the government directive, DMB initiated a feasibility study to consider the potential for a milk collection scheme in Chikwaka in 1983 (DMB 1988). Chikwaka was selected because of its proximity to Harare the capital city, location in agro-ecological region IIa which receives 800 to 1000 mm rainfall per annum and was therefore considered suitable for intensive systems of crop and livestock production. Although the initial objective was for milk production only, there were several constraints identified that hindered the attainment of this objective. The major constraints identified were (1) lack of properly controlled and managed grazing (2) cattle dip was too far (3) water shortages (4) poor sanitary facilities (5) lack of knowledge of dairying and (6) low milk yield produced by indigenous stock. These constraints needed to be overcome before milk production could be introduced to the area.

A planning committee encompassing all government departments and different groups and associations was formed to coordinate and plan the activities in order to overcome these constraints. The results of a socio-economic study undertaken showed that milk production could not be considered in isolation but as an integral part of the farming system pertaining to many communal areas of Zimbabwe. As a result, DMB had to work in collaboration with other Ministries, agencies and farmer associations in the development of smallholder dairy. The DMB then appointed a project officer and three liaison officers to cater for both mobilization and link with the DMB. The Rural District Council donated a 10 hectare plot for construction of the milk collection centre and establishing a demonstration plot for training. Other donors also intervened, with the European Economic Commission (EEC) funding the Kawoyo grazing scheme while farmers contributed labour to the project. The Dutch Embassy provided building materials for the construction of a dip tank, while DMB sourced and sold cement at cost price for the construction of latrines and also purchased a rig to help the community to drill boreholes. On the 22nd December 1987, a total of 13 farmers altogether brought 136 litres of milk to the collection centre (DMB 1988). The Chikwaka milk collection centre thus became the first to be established in a communal area as part of a broad based development programme centred on milk production (DDP 1995). The centre was then registered by Dairy Services as a producer-retailer in line with changes to accommodate the smallholder areas.

The First Small Scale Commercial Farming Area Dairy Scheme

DMB’s second pilot study was undertaken in Marirangwe small scale commercial farming area. This was mainly because a group of farmers from Marirangwe had approached the Board in mid-1983 to express their interest in entering the commercial dairy industry. A decision was then made to undertake a study focusing on the technical capacity of the farmers. Organizational aspects of the milk collection centre to be eventually established were left to the community. This study was facilitated by the Department of Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (Agritex) at both provincial and local levels. According to DMB (1984), the local extension worker submitted a list of 21 farmers who were interested in a milk collection project.

After assessment of the area in terms of the community profile and resource base, the DMB concluded that a milk collection scheme had a good chance of success. Several factors considered in the assessment were in favour of such a scheme (DMB 1988). Firstly, such a scheme had once been requested before Zimbabwe’s war of liberation. Secondly, farmers were anxious to realize income from one of their major assets (cattle) and were aware of the potential benefit of the scheme. Thirdly, farmers were sufficiently motivated to undertake the formation of committees to run the scheme and appointment of the necessary staff. Fourthly, Agritex reported that 75% of farmers in the area were receptive to new ideas and lastly, the area was close to some big LSC dairy producers who were prepared to offer advice, bull service and possibly heifers (or crossbreds) for sale to the neighboring community.

However, there were some factors that militated against the successful establishment of the milk collection scheme. These included training and extension services for farmers, the question of milking sheds and herd improvement and transport for those farmers who were fairly distant from the milking centre (maximum of 10 km). The Dairy Act and Regulations that were enacted during the colonial era were another major constraint in implementing the project in Marirangwe (DMB 1984). According to DMB (1984) it was considered neither feasible nor essential for each farmer or group of farmers to bear the cost of constructing the type of milking facility that was prescribed in the Act. The DMB recommended that before possible changes to the Act could be requested, Marirangwe could be used as an experimental project to enable the research team to assess problems likely to be encountered and changes to the Act that could be safely requested. Some of the requirements of the Act were finally waived so that milk that did not necessarily comply with the Act could be collected from Marirangwe. This was to enable the research team to collect crucial experience based data on milk quality, optimal carrying distances, appropriate testing procedures, sterilizing equipment, frequency of collection, seasonality of supply and others. This enabled the Marirangwe small scale dairy scheme to proceed and it was envisaged there would be a handover-takeover by farmers after two years. The milk collection centre (MCC) initially catered for the local community’s fresh milk requirements and the surplus was marketed at the DMB Harare Diary.

Major Policies during the Period 1980 to 2013

The period 1980 to 2013 has seen Zimbabwean economy undergoing major policy shifts. The first ten years (1980 to 1989) were characterized by a single channel marketing system under which statutory organizations operated for most of the major agricultural commodities, including dairy (Muir 1994). The statutory organization responsible for dairy was the Dairy Marketing Board (DMB), formed in 1952. The DMB had monopoly in the purchase, processing, distribution and external trade of all dairy products. Government administered producer prices, and also set both wholesale and retail prices. Prices were established pan-territorially, and pan seasonally. However, milk producer prices were not set pan-seasonally as these were adjusted to take into account changes in farmer feeding costs. According to Chidzero (1994) the major policy thrust in the first ten years was to bring about social transformation which would positively redress the socio-economic imbalance which existed prior to independence. Government therefore introduced or reinforced price controls as part of the principle of growth with equity. However, one of the implications of these price controls was the continued subsidization of marketing boards. As a result the government between 1980 and 1990 paid the DMB an average of about USD4 million (ZWD34 million at 1994 exchange rates) per annum direct consumer subsidies (Muir 1994).

The problems with the subsidies in the first 10 years of independence was that they were not targeted to particular groups of people, and therefore did not assist the people they were intended to assist. The price controls at the same time also discouraged investors. Government in 1990 then launched the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) which was aimed at stimulating investment and economic activity. The policy reforms envisaged entailed moving away from a highly regulated economy to one where market forces were expected to play a greater role within the context of government objectives (Chidzero 1994). As part of these reforms, the DMB was initially commercialized and later privatized in 1993, turning from losses to profits in the same year. However, although the company achieved profits, these were achieved against low producer prices and these were reflected in the steady decline in the LSC herd from 115,000 in 1993 to 82,000 head in 1999 (Muir 1994).

The fast track land redistribution programme was launched in the year 2000. This period was characterised by massive land occupations and economic decline and crisis (Moyo 2006). The key elements of the fast track were speeding up of identification and compulsory acquisition of land for resettlement, accelerating planning and demarcation of acquired land and settler emplacement on the land, and providing basic infrastructure and farmer support services. The effects of the fast track land redistribution programme, coupled with droughts, resulted in dairy animals being sent for slaughter. Overall production in all sectors of the economy declined during the period 2000 to 2008, including the dairy industry. During this period, dairy farmers were forced to barter milk for stock feeds. The introduction of the government of national unity in 2009, coupled with the introduction of the multicurrency regime enabled the economy to slowly rebuild.

Trends in National Milk Intake

The trend for national milk production shows that milk production steadily increased in the first ten years (1980 to 1990), reaching a peak in 1991, and steadily declined from 1991 up to 2009, when it started slowly going up (Figure 1). The peak production period was achieved in 1991 at 260 million litres. Since then, milk production has steadily declined, reaching a low of 37 million litres in 2009. Although the decline started during the period the government implemented the ESAP in the early 1990s, the fast track land redistribution programme also led to further decline in dairy production in terms of milk production, number of producers and the total dairy herd (Figure 1).

Figure 1. National milk intake (million litres
Effect of Policies on National Milk Intake

Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) results of national milk intake on policy periods shows that policy periods had significant effects on milk production (p<0.1; F3, 28 =24.10; at 1%; and N=31). This shows that the policies had an effect on national milk intake. The multiple comparison using Tukey post hoc multiple comparison tests show that there was no significant differences in milk intake during the single channel market period and ESAP, while there were significant differences in national milk intake between the single channel market period and ESAP, and between the land reform and dollarization periods. These results are summarized in Figure 2 showing the interactive bar graphs and the results of the multiple comparison tests.

Figure 2. Mean (95% CL) national milk intake (million litres) for different policy periods interactive.
Numbers in bars are subgroups based on multiple comparison tests.
Trends in Smallholder Milk Intake

The trends in smallholder milk intake show that it reached a peak in the year 1995 with about 3.6 million litres, and steadily declined up to the year 2000, when about 1.4 million litres of milk were produced. From 2000 onwards, milk intake fluctuated and dropped significantly in 2008 when about 78 thousand litres were produced due economic challenges and hyperinflation. The trend started showing a steady upwards trend from the year 2009 with the introduction of the multi-currency system or dollarization (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Smallholder milk intake (million litres) 1988 - 2012
Effect of Policies on Smallholder Milk Intake

The ANOVA produced the following results (p< 0.1; F 3,21 = 9,47 at 1%; N=24). These results show that policies had an effect on smallholder total milk intake. Multiple comparison using the Tukey pos-hoc multiple comparison tests also show a significant difference between the single channel market period and ESAP, ESAP and land reform period, and ESAP and dollarization, while there were no significant differences between the policy periods land reform and single channel market, dollarization and single market and dollarization and land reform. These results are summarized in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Mean (95% CL) smallholder milk intake in litres for different policy periods interactive bars.
Numbers in bars are subgroups based on multiple comparison tests
Effects of Polices on Milk Intake of Selected Smallholder Dairy Schemes

In order to understand the effects of the policy frameworks periods on scheme level milk intake, interactive bar graphs and ANOVA were performed for two smallholder dairy schemes of Rusitu and Marirangwe. These schemes form some part of the early development of dairying in the resettlement and small scale commercial areas, respectively. The results are shown in Figures 5 and 6 respectively.

Figure 5.  Mean (95% CL) Rusitu dairy scheme milk intake in litres for different policy periods. interactive bars.
Numbers in bars are subgroups based on multiple comparison tests.

Figure 6. Mean (95% CL) Marirangwe dairy scheme milk intake in litres for different policy periods interactive bars.
Numbers in bars are subgroups based on multiple comparison tests

ANOVA results for Rusitu (p=0.05; F 3,19 = 3.128; N=22) and Marirangwe (p=0.08; F 3,18 = = 2.65; N = 22) smallholder dairy schemes indicate that there were no significant differences in the policy periods at 1%. Multiple comparison using the Tukey multiple comparison tests for both Rusitu and Marirangwe show that there were no significant differences in the four policy periods of single channel market, ESAP, land reform and dollarization.


Effect of Policies on National Milk Intake

The results of the effects of policies on national milk intake explain some of the major policies and investments that have gone into dairy production over the period. During the period 1980 to 1990, Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) in February 1983 through an agreement with Norway received a donation of bulk milk tanks, which led to the creation of the bulk milk collection scheme. The aim was to modernize and stimulate milk production from the LSC producers (AMA 1987). According to the AMA (1987) the bulk milk collection scheme signaled a significant investment in the existing dairy industry and played a major role in encouraging new farmers to enter the industry. By the end of June 1987, 318 tanks were operational and 70% of milk intake was collected through the bulk milk scheme. A further agreement was signed between GoZ and Norway in 1987 for the supply of an additional 200 farm tanks. It was expected that with the supply of the additional 200 tanks, 95% of the milk would be handled through the scheme. Large Scale Commercial farmers participating in the bulk milk scheme would lease the bulk farm tanks from the DMB and pay rental charges. The rentals money generated from the scheme was designed for developing the dairy industry in small scale commercial and communal farming areas, and the rentals were supposed to be over a 15 year period. The bulk milk tanks rentals were instrumental in financing the early development of the smallholder dairy schemes and were supposed to generate USD 2.3 million (Z$12.6 million at 1992 exchange rates) over the 15 year period (DDP 1992). Cumulatively, for the period 1984 to 1991, USD0.7 million (Z$3.4 million at 1991 exchange rates) of counterpart funds had been used to finance the development of smallholder dairy, with USD0.9 million (Z$4.6 million) from Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), government USD185,882 (Z$948,000), other donors USD29,803 (Z$152,000) and farmers USD135,490 (Z$ 691,000).

According to the AMA (1987), due to the improvements in the dairy industry the DMB in 1986/87 season purchased 224 million litres of milk from producers which exerted severe pressure on the DMB’s handling capacity. The AMA (1987) also reports that while the urban market was well supplied with milk, it was estimated that there was a shortage of milk in rural areas of about 145 million litres per annum. This prompted government to task the then Dairy Coordinating Committee within the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement to develop a strategy for the dairy industry which incorporated the peasant sector as part of the productive base. The peasant sector then had only two operational schemes of Chikwaka in the communal and Marirangwe in the small scale farming areas. This led to further developments in the smallholder dairy programme and by 1987; there were several other dairy projects at various stages of development. These were located at Tsonzo, Nharira, Lancashire, Zvimba, Guruve, and Chitomborwizi. Each project involved research, pasture and forage management on a demonstration plot aimed at improving dairy production, installation of milking sheds and milk collection centres (AMA, 1988).

During the ESAP period, a number of dairy producers and cooperatives were registered and these competed directly with the privatized Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited (DZL). However, overall milk production continued to decline as efforts were continued to build the smallholder dairy sector. During the fast track land reform that started in 2000, the number of registered large scale commercial dairy producers reduced from 314 in 2000 to 135 in 2011 (LMAC, 2012). The numbers of female dairy cattle were reduced from about 70,000 in 2000 to about 23,000 in 2011. According to DZL (2009) the number of dairy animals at peak was estimated at 200,000. According to USAID (2007), during this period GDP in constant prices over the five years to 2006 contracted at an annual rate of 5.8%, which was among the world’s worst performance. This decline in economy continued to the year 2008, which was characterized by hyperinflation.

Effect of Policies on Smallholder Milk Intake

The smallholder results explain the effects of policy on dairy production during the period 1980 to 2013 in the smallholder areas. Since the results show that there were no significant differences, this indicates that they may be other factors other than policies that affect milk production at the smallholder dairy scheme level. It is important to note that in the smallholder areas, milk intake does not reflect production as approximately 30 to 40% of milk produced by farmers is assumed retained for home consumption and calf rearing needs (Dube 2008). Smallholder dairy only started in 1983 with financing from funds generated from the bulk milk collection scheme introduced in the same year, hence the birth of the DDP programme. The DDP acted as the implementing body of dairy development projects in communal, resettlement, and small scale commercial farming areas (AMA 1988). The role of the DDP since its formation has been to facilitate the infrastructural and training needs of the farmers. In April 1989, the DDP was transferred from the DMB to the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA). According to the DDP Phase II strategy (July 1988 to October 2003), this was necessitated by the redefinition of the mandates of parastatals in preparation for the Economic Structural Adjustment programme (ESAP) which was launched in 1990. This necessitated the transfer since DMB was regarded a milk processing organization, hence the transfer to ARDA which is an agricultural development organization. ULG Consultants (1994a) cite the concentration of the DMB on the commercial side of its operations as necessitating the transfer. Also, the fact that ARDA had been operating the Rusitu small scale dairy resettlement scheme since 1983 with assistance from the Overseas Development Association (ODA) made it a suitable home for DDP. DDP (1989) further proposed the integration of DDP and Rusitu because both schemes dealt with milk production by small scale farmers. The integration of Rusitu brought the number of dairy schemes under ARDA to 10. In addition there was Nyarungu Training Centre dairy scheme which catered specifically for the training needs of smallholder farmers.

When DDP was transferred to ARDA, there were successful negotiations which led to NORAD directly funding DDP to the tune of NOK 25 million (about USD1.2 million at 1998 exchange rates) for the period 1990 to 1997. According to ULG Consultants (1994b), the development model used by DDP had been tested and tried in other countries and adapted to the Zimbabwe situation. The model used has the following characteristics:

(1) DDP moves into an area at the request of the local community to assess the potential for milk production and the interest of the community to come together as a group to produce and sell milk;

(2) Using the team approach, DDP then organizes participants into a group, then mobilizes the input supplies (including finance and dairy animals), services and milk collecting infrastructure required to produce and market milk surplus to domestic needs through the group milk centre (which is usually a bulk milk tank and feed store in a small building);

(3) The support also includes assistance to manage the group, to construct milking sheds, to rent a bulk milk tank from the National Dairy Cooperative (NDC) and if appropriate to acquire other processing equipment;

(4) The Ministry of Agriculture Dairy Services licensing has also been modified to accommodate such small scale groups treating the group as one producer-retailer;

(5) Each member producer has to have a small milking shed or parlour, or access to a shed or parlour for milking the cows. The specifications of the milking parlour required have also been modified by Dairy Services to accommodate smallholder dairying.

According to ULG (1994b), members have a say in how the group is organized. DDP usually would first encourage members to form an association, which would give the group legal status. DDP, with assistance from Agritex would then train the members in milk production and farm management, and provide extension services during the start-up phase. Initially, members would start with indigenous cows, progressing to crosses and pure breeds as they gain management experience.

The DDP (1989) indicates that although the key to the dairy programme is appropriate technical skills and the establishment of a milk marketing infrastructure (especially the multi-purpose milk centres for handling milk, etc.), the DDP is broad based programme designed to develop people through the initiation of a development process rather than purely the development of cows. This broad based approach could possibly explain why there have been various factors constraining the development of smallholder dairy in Zimbabwe. This is mainly because the main focus of DDP is not 100% dairy development, but focusing on a multifaceted development programme. The development projects that have been piloted by the DDP in all the provinces are supposed to form a nucleus identified through government multi-agencies in terms of potential for sustaining multifaceted development programme (DDP 1989).

The development model used by ARDA has largely been followed, although there were no new dairy schemes established during the period 2000 to 2008. There are currently a total of 20 smallholder dairy schemes countrywide (excluding Nyarungu Training Centre dairy scheme). An additional eight potential dairy schemes have been identified but these are not yet operational because there has been no infrastructural development for the dairy schemes.



A PhD thesis grant from the Africa Economic Research Consortium (AERC) based in Nairobi is greatly acknowledged. However, the views expressed in the paper reflect the authors’ views, and not of any other person.


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Received 30 March 2016; Accepted 28 April 2016; Published 2 June 2016

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