By Ndafadza Madanha
NESTLE Zimbabwe’s Dairy Empowerment Scheme (NDES) launched in 2011 is beginning to bear fruit with small scale dairy farmers incorporated into the scheme making significant contributions.
Nestle says NDES programme has evolved over the years to focus on agripreneurship through supporting dairy farmers and farming partners to be Agripreneural or have the Agripreneurship mindset that creates sustainability and at a large scale, creating economic opportunities and social impact in rural communities.
“Prior to the onset of the NDES, dairy farmers faced several challenges which included lack of technical support, low dairy herd, poor feeding, water challenges and lack of support on Milk collection Centre’s. At the start of the program, we had no small-scale farmers and we began to build these from 2015.
We are happy to report that we now have three small scale farmer groups, Chitomborwizi in Mashonaland West, Watershed in Hwedza, and Agro
Prosperity Trust in Marondera. These groups have almost 70 individual dairy farmers in total,” said , Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Director at Nestlé ESAR
Tohlang said despite the challenges brought about by Covid 19 dairy farmers under its wing continued to experience growth in milk output.One such that has defied Covid-19 is Watershed Small scale farmer hub has grown its volumes from 2.5k litres a month to 11k in a sace of six months.
“Dairy farmers still face challenges today, some of which have been worsened by the onset of COVID-19, however through consorted efforts under our scheme, we are making steady progress despite additional challenges brought about by COVID-19,”
Watershed Small scale Farmer hub was registered in May last year just as COVID-19 hit Zimbabwe. The group started milking about 2.5K/litres per month, but by December 2020 they had grown their milk volumes to about 11K/litres per month.
We are expecting the group to grow their volumes this year by at least 50%.
In driving our agripreneurship and sustainability agenda within NDES, Nestlé Zimbabwe has supported its dairy farmers through the following.
Among the support given to farmers by Nestle include establishment of milk collection centers by giving cooling tanks, solar powered boreholes to address water challenges for irrigation, pasture and silage support to reduce commercial feed requirements: feed.
Through this initiative said it was able to ensure Nestlé Zimbabwe received the right quality of milk and build a steady supply of raw milk for our production.
Dairy farmers have also witnessed changes that enhance their incomes now and build a prosperous future for the next generation of farmers.