Sharing knowledge to increase dairy production capacity in institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe
Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) Vice Chancellor Professor David Simbi visited Africa University on the 19th of June 2020 together with his team to interact with and learn from staff at the Africa University Dream Farm Dairy as they seek to establish a dairy enterprise of their own and develop a value chain for their products . The AU Dream Farm has made its mark in the province of Manicaland as a leader in the dairy and poultry sector and is a center of knowledge generation and sharing within communities around the Old Mutare Main Campus and beyond.
Professor Simbi was welcomed by Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Mageto who said during his welcome remarks, ” This is an excellent opportunity for us to explore avenues to assist and emancipate our respective institutions. Public- private partnerships are the way forward and we are honored that you have seen us as the best in what we do and have chosen to learn from our experiences. CUT are at the forefront of the Artificial Insemination field in herd expansion and your expertise is something that will prove beneficial to us as we look to expand our dairy herd going forward. The possibilities for the projects we can work on together are endless.”
Professor Simbi expressed immense appreciation for the opportunity saying, ” We are here to learn from you as experts in the sector. Currently, CUT has 72 heifers with which we are beginning our enterprise and we are looking to grow. Dairy production is something we are very interested in and when we were offered the opportunity to view your operations, we seized it after the generous invitation from VC Professor Furusa. We have similar interests as we both look to growing the national and continental economy through our institutions of higher learning.”
The Deputy Dean of Agriculture Dr. Murungweni added, ” We are new to the dairy business and we want to learn from Africa University. We want to tap into your dairy value addition processes and shed light on the challenges you faced and how you overcame them to be where you are today.”
Farm Manager Mr. Mpofu who led the tour of the farm facilities said that farming was his passion and impressed upon the visiting delegation the importance of the desire for consistency, quality and ingenuity in the farming process. ” Our dairy products are some of the best in the country and in every step of our processes we ensure hygiene, to prevent contamination, efficiency to prevent waste and freshness of our final products which has culminated in the recognition we receive today for our products. One of the main buyers of our milk is Dariboard in addition to other players in the market who know us for our quality.”
The team were given in- depth exposure to the entire value addition process of the University’s drinking yogurt and sour milk offerings with other farm operations also visited so as to provide perspective into the entire farm operation and the linkages that exist between the various sections.
Africa University has won numerous awards at both provincial and national level for its agricultural products. Business enterprise and innovation remain key strategic pillars for the institution as it embraces the education 5.0 revolution and positions itself as a leader on the continent in holistic Pan- African education that positively contributes the Africa’s development agenda.
The AU Dream Farm is a mixed commercial farm with a chicken layer unit that holds a capacity of 6000 birds at any given time as well as a piggery of 60 animals that support the sale of serviced gilts to members of the community who are looking to establish small scale piggery projects of their own. 2000 broiler chickens are produced fortnightly that serve the University’s Bonaventure / Ndorimana Dining Hall and also support Mutare’s hotels, restaurants and schools. Livestock such as sheep, goats and rabbits are also reared in addition to food crops such as Maize, Broccoli, Cabbage and Wheat.