I am Zenzele Ndebele, 37, from Bulawayo Zimbabwe, a journalist with a Master of Science in Journalism and Media Studies. I started cattle ranching five years ago and am very passionate about farming.
I believe farming has the potential to positively change the lives of African people, especially those who live in rural areas who do not have any other sources of income besides agriculture.
Many people in Zimbabwe live on less than USD 1 yet they have some form of agriculture activity that they do. Those who keep livestock do not see it as a business and will only sell their livestock when they have serious problems and normally are not able to negotiate for a good price because they are desperate.
While diary farming is big business in Zimbabwe most communal farmers are not so lucky to benefit from this lucrative industry due to a lack of capital, equipment, and access to markets. In most cases farmers are not able to buy the necessary equipment that is needed or they simply do not have knowledge on how they can organize themselves.
In most cases farmers end up selling their raw milk to big dairy companies at very low prices. Most communal farmers keep cattle for beef and milk production and they do not get profit from their animals and end up selling them at very low prices when they have problems.
This project seeks to establish a community milk supplying scheme. The scheme will set up a small dairy processes center that will produce diary milk products like milk drinks and sour milk.
The project will be implemented in Lee Woods village, Figtree. There are 20 villagers who are willing to be part of this project and all of them have a total of about 150 cattle.
The 50 diary cows produce about 8–10 litres of milk a day. The 50 cows will be milked daily at a site yet to be constructed and milk will be taken to the processing centre.
Villagers will be paid for their raw milk market rates. By selling milk to a centre that is in there locally they will avoid transport costs and also be able to benefit from the end product that is produced in their locality.
Once the milk products are processed and packed they will be sold in the school in the area and they will also be sold in the city.
If this projects expands it will also be able to employ a number of people from the local community.
I have already talked to 20 villagers who are willing to be part of this project and we will have 50 cows to start with. They also agreed to give a piece of land where the milking parlor and processing center will be located.
The success of this project will be measured by the number of different products that are produced from the processing centre and the income generated from the project.
Besides the financial success, the idea of a community that is proactive and able to see value in their assets will be great measure of success.
This project has the potential to be implemented in other parts of Africa and if this happens, it will be a measure of success as well.
First phase (two months)
Construction of the milking shade USD 300
Portable milking machine USD 600
Protective clothes to maintain hygiene USD 100
Milk juice processing machine and containers USD 1,000
Phase 2 (two months)
Processing centre USD 700
Milk juice processing machine and storage USD 1,200
Phase 3 (one month)
Ingredients for processing milk juices USD 600
Packaging and labelling material USD 500
Blogpost and picture submitted by Zenzele Ndebele (Zimbabwe): bayethe[at]yahoo.co.uk
The content, structure and grammar are at the discretion of the author only.
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