Rural Dairy Revitalization project - Feeds and feeding


The goal of the project was to improve dairy production in the smallholder sector. Because feed is an important aspect in dairy production, and constitutes the bulk of the costs,  the project aimed at capacitating farmers so that they can produce their own feed and cut costs of purchased feeds. The project also intended to help Milk Collection Centers (MCCS) to operate profitably throughout the year since some months, due to low supply, they were failing to break even since MCCs have a lot of overhead costs.



The project was initiated by Matopos in 2013, however the pace was very limited. In 2015, the project gained momentum when we carried out massive dairy feeding training sessions, established demonstration plots and practical feeding sessions. We invited feed companies to join the training sessions as it is inevitable to use commercial feeds in dairy production, despite producing own forage crops.  

The project was initiated as a response to the erratic supply of milk to Milk Collection Centres . Because of limited funds, the project was initialized in two areas. The aim was to help farmers improve productivity as well as to commercialize production, to improve household incomes, employment and food security . Importantly, to allow small producers to participate in formal markets through development of the dairy value chains. Major mentoring activities were planned which included the extension officer and the farmers were trained. In addition, the project linked farmers with fodder seed suppliers since this link had traditionally been weak. The interventions aimed at increasing milk production in the smallholder dairy sector.



The project generated a lot of interest among farmers and the donor community. It started off with 20 farmers in each site but more than 100 have since established their own fodder gardens. The SNV organization and the Zimbabwe Dairy Industry Trust also joined in the project. Now the project has been extended to the rest of the 20 MCCs in the country. Other aspects including breed improvement and business management have been added!

The project recorded improved feeding management among farmers using forage crops and commercial feeds. This has substantially increased the volumes of the milk deliveries to the MCCs.