Major financial boost for East Africa dairy farmers
From ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
DAR ES SALAAM (CAJ News) – THOUSANDS of dairy farmers in East Africa are poised to benefit from a US4 million programme initiated by Heifer International in support of the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development.
The three-year initiative will set up dairy hubs that will help farmers in Tanzania and Rwanda collect and sell their milk. The initiative will involve 3 850 farming families in Tanzania and Rwanda.
Heifer International is contributing $2 million to the project. An additional grant of US$2 million will be provided by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, which works to end rural poverty.
Half of the funds will be spent in Zanzibar, Tanzania, where five dairy hubs will be established. The other half will set up six hubs in Rwanda. The participants will be men, women and youth living on less than $2 a day.
“Bringing the farmers together gives them bargaining power,” said Leticia Mpuya, Heifer’s country director in Tanzania.
“When individual farmers try to negotiate on their own, it’s easy for the middle men to knock down the price. But when they join together, they get fair prices and better access to markets.”
The dairy hubs will also provide expertise about detecting diseases, milking techniques, nutrition, business management and other subjects.
The guidance will enable the farmers to increase production by 30 percent and improve milk quality. Some of the hubs will include chilling equipment that will help preserve milk longer.
Mahendra Lohani, senior vice president of International Programs at Heifer, said, “We are committed to ensure that the project is an unforgettable landmark in the history of dairy development initiatives in Tanzania and Rwanda.”
– CAJ News
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