Lack of funding for dairy farming has been singled out as a major threat to milk production whose current levels are half the national demand.

Milk production levels currently stand at 75 million litres per year against a national yearly demand of 120 million litres.

This has largely been attributed to lack of funding of the dairy farming sector due to unavailability of bankable security of tenure, according to the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers chairman Mr Kudzi Chirima.

He revealed this at plot 26 of Chitomborwizi purchase area during a field day hosted by the small scale national dairy farmer of the year Mr Marlon Gwede.

“The biggest problem is that we are unable to secure funding. We are looking forward as a sector to conclude bankable security of tenure deals,” he said.

Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Honourable Vangelis Haritatoes said government is adopting three strategies including improving the genetics of the dairy herd in order to increase milk production.

“Government acknowledges the constraints of the sector. We are adopting three strategies namely increasing the number of dairy cows, improving the genetics quality of the dairy herd and developing breeds that are suitable for small scale farmers,” he said.

Nestle Zimbabwe Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ben Ndiyaye whose company is partnering hundreds of dairy farmers in Chitomborwizi said the model developed in the area is an example of community development which creates shared values.

“We have to create value for our stakeholders for Nestle to remain viable. This is an inspirational model,” he said.

The 2018 national dairy farmer of the year in the small scale sector Mr Marlon Gwede expressed hope that he will maintain the momentum.

“The level I have reached is not reversible. I hope this business will be a testimony for years to come,” Mr Gwede said.

For his exploits, Mr Gwede and other dairy farmers walked away with several prizes running into thousands of dollars.