Local consumer rights groups have expressed concern over plans by a Botswana company to export donkey milk products to Zimbabwe.
The company, Takuwa Natural Products, recently announced that it intends to establish a donkey milk value-addition base in Zimbabwe.
Responding to the announcement, National Consumer Rights Association (NACORA) spokesperson Effie Ncube told the Southern Eye that Zimbabweans were not consumers of donkey milk and other products. He said:
"Therefore, it boggles the mind as to why Zimbabwe is seen as a viable market for such a product. At this point, it is unlikely to attract a lot of consumers.
Before authorising the imports, the health issues should be comprehensively explored and consumers informed accordingly.
The product should also be well labelled so that no one confuses it with cow milk. A picture of the donkey should be on every package and marked in bold letters."
Mangwe Ward 6 councillor Similo Ndlovu told the publication that it is common knowledge that Batswana consume donkey meat. Said Ndlovu:
"People are surprised about the move. We meet with people in Botswana during funerals in the Patse area, and we have seen them eating donkey meat."
Health and Child Care Minister Douglas Mombeshora said that while they were yet to analyse the donkey products, it is evident that the products are not poisonous. He said:
"We need to analyse to find out how much fat, proteins, etc, but people in Botswana have eaten it and are alive."
Research has shown that donkey milk is highly nutritious and contains essential nutrients such as vitamins (particularly vitamins A, B, C, and E), minerals (including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus), and fatty acids.