Dairibord halts heifer programme

LISTED milk processor, Dairibord Holdings (Dairibord) says it has put its Heifer Importation Programme (Hip) on hold on the back of an impending drought.

Dairiboard group chief executive Anthony Mandiwanza recently told an analysts briefing that the scheme, which was supposed to see the procurement of 500 heifers in the year ended December 2015, had been halted.

“During the year under review, we managed to get 330 heifers out of the 500 initially targeted, however, we have put the programme on hold given the drought situation,” Mandiwanza said.
Zimbabwe this year has been hit by an El Nino-induced famine which will result in one of the most severe droughts since 1992.
The Dairiboard boss said the heifer scheme was now contributing about eight percent of the group’s raw milk uptake.

Mandiwanza last year told shareholder that under its Hip, Dairiboard, anticipated that an additional 200 000 litres of milk would be produced per month from the targeted 500 heifers.
In 2014, Dairiboard had projected to import 250 heifers but only managed to import 180 bringing the cumulative total to 430 at the end of the first half of 2015.

The group last year secured $1,3 million funding from a local bank for the Hip from a local bank in an effort to boost raw milk production.

Dairibord’s plan for revival of dairy farming involved acquiring heifers and loaning them out to farmers.
In return, farmers would provide milk to the company.
Reports also indicate that 100 heifers were imported in the first four months of 2015, at a cost of $2 000 per heifer.

Mandiwanza, however ,said the price of raw milk in Zimbabwe remained high compared to other countries in the region.
“In countries such as Malawi one can get milk at $0,26 per litre but here in Zimbabwe the prices range from $0,60 for a litre of milk,” he said.

But, according to Mandiwanza, the milk processor cannot import milk from its Malawian unit due to regulatory hurdles.
Group raw milk intake for the year to December 2015 decreased two percent attributed to a 24 percent fall in Malawi on the back of floods that ravaged the country during the first half of 2015.
But, in Zimbabwe, the group recorded a three percent growth in milk intake.

The group’s liquid milks unit production fell one percent.
Dairibord recorded sales volumes of $83,8 million driven by the beverages portfolio, which was up 45 percent on prior period with Pfuko, Cascade and Aqualite being the major volume drivers
In the 12 months to December 31 2015, Dairiboard recorded a four percent increase in revenue to $103,4 million.

Operating profit for the period stood at $3,9 million from $1,3 million prior period as the operating profit margin was up to four percent from one percent on comparable period.

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