One of the leading platinum mining companies in Zimbabwe (Zimplats) has ventured into dairy farming with an aim of producing twenty-five million litres of milk in five years time.
Speaking to GreatDykeNews24 during the just ended Zimbabwe Agricultural Show, Zimplats Head of Corporate Affairs Busi Chindove revealed that the company has invested US$15 million towards the project.
“We are working on a significant livestock project where we are in a joint venture. The idea is that in five years time we will have a herd of about ten thousand commercial beef and seven thousand five hundred dairy cows.
“Our target is to produce twenty-five million litres of milk to contribute towards the national milk intake.
“Its an ambitious programme and we are investing about fifteen million dollars in it as joint venture partners. What is fantastic is that some of the livestock are now on the ground and we have already started the process of building up that herd,” she said.
She also emphasized the need for synergies between mining and agriculture adding that they are working on a number of projects to prove that the two can co-exist.
“The two can co-exist in a positive way that impacts positively. We are emphasizing the work that we are doing in terms of working with communities on nutrition gardens. We are also working on a significant livestock project where we are in a joint venture,” she said.
According to the Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited (DZL) Secretary Samson Punzisai, demand for milk significantly improved in the third quarter of 2020 which grew by 32% ahead of the second quarter.
In a speech read on her behalf at the breakfast interface held during the just ended Zimbabwe Agricultural Show, Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe President Ms Elizabeth Nerwande said the mining industry is spending about 6% of total expenditure on Corporate Social Investment and most of these initiatives have an agriculture bias.
“On average the mining industry is spending about 6% of total expenditure on CSI and most of these initiatives have an agriculture bias. Agricultural projects take up between 3% and 11% of the CSI budget.
“Other key CSI areas by mining companies include health, education, infrastructure, Community Share Ownership Trusts and Local Enterprise Development,” she said.
Mining activities have come into direct competition with another predominant means of economic development in rural areas which is small-scale agriculture.
Tensions over control of land and most importantly, water have led to community protests and violent conflict.
Reconciling these two important development drivers has become a critical governance issue, particularly in Zimbabwe.