By Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers
‘The Difficult Journey’
The journey was a bit difficult from the start as there was no water at the project site cows would travel for long distances to river streams, no reliable market for milk, no equipment ,no adequate stockfeed for the animals and at times cows would be let out of the paddock to graze in the surrounding community and this would induce stress to the cows, affect milk production and put the animals at a higher risk of contagious and zoonotic diseases from other animals and humans within the community and high rate of cow mortalities due to lack of feed, diseases and technical know how.
The cow hotel model was adopted to ease operation, close monitoring of the herd, avoid contamination, increase efficiency and maximize production.
Support from ADF
The Cooperative attributes its success to support received from the local community and ADF, impressed by the ideas of the farmers ADF gave us a grant in 2011 and this really helped us a lot. We then managed to build a proper milking parlor, construct a borehole, milking equipment and we also managed to get training from other expertise from successful organizations.
- We are now able to add value to our milk by producing sour milk in 500mls sachets with our own machinery.
- We managed to acquire 10 more cows through the Dairy Revitalization Programme.
- This year 2017 we have managed to hit a target of 38 tonnes per hectare of silage and we had planted 13 hectares of yellow maize and we managed to fill 3 pits of 120tonnes, 60tonnes and 40 tonnes respectively
- We also have maize meant for snap corn and crushed maize meant for formulating our own foods as we will buy premixes.
- We now have a fodder reserve that will sustain our cows throughout the year and we are also growing leguminous plants like lab lab and velvet beans at the project zone.
- We have moved from hand milking to machine milking which reduce milking time, contamination, labor and stress throughout the lactation by creating good milking routines.
- We no longer promote deforestation as we now have a standby generator to use in cases of electricity unavailability.
- We now offer artificial insemination services to the local community and to our cows also and this has helped increase our conception rate.
We have farming equipment i.e. a tractor, trailer, plough and silage cutter which helps ease operations at the farm.
- We do not have only one source of income, listed below are the sources.
Tractor and plough
We offer ploughing services to farmers within ur community and we get extra income.
People who want to ferry their goods like bricks, pitsand, firewood etc also hire our services.
Surrounding villager pay monthly subscription to fetch water from the zone
We also sell cattle manure.
- Our market has expanded to an extent that we are now competing with larger producers like Dairybord and Probrands in Domboshava.
Many people thought that we would never succeed but with zeal and determination we are now recognized in the country and we are the bread basket of Domboshava in terms of fresh and sour milk.
As Domboshava dairy we have proven that if one has patience, perseverance and teamwork there are many opportunities waiting to be explored in the rural areas.