Heifer International

The mission of Heifer International is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth.
Oct 3, 2016

Project Report - Oct 2016

Heifer CEO (far right) and team visit Tanzania
Heifer CEO (far right) and team visit Tanzania

Heifer International CEO Pierre Ferrari visits EADD Tanzania

Increasing demand and consumption of milk and other dairy products is key to achieving EADD II objective of doubling income of smallholder dairy farmers in East Africa, and specifically those of 35,000 smallholder farmers in Tanzania. Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO of Heifer International is leading efforts towards innovatively building the demand side of the dairy value chain in Tanzania even as the project continues to work with farmers in increasing milk production.

The CEO together with Dr. Mahendra Lohani, Senior Vice President of Programsat Heifer International, Rakesh Kapoor, EADD Regional Director and other senior EADD and Heifer leadership recently visited the project in Tanzania to deliberate on Heifer’s contribution towards improving the dairy value chain in the country. For about eight days from March 20th 2016, the team led by the CEO visited three farmers (two in Rungwe district and one in Mbozi), Mbozi Maziwa Limited, Ndoledzi Pre-primary Cooperative as well as held sessions to discuss sustainable solutions to increase uptake of milk in Tanzania.

Hilda Mulungu (51), a farmer living in Mbozi was one of the three farmers visited by the team. A cheerful and smiling Hilda warmly welcomed them into her home and happily narrated her story, how dairy farming has transformed her life.

Hilda is a member of the VWAWA Dairy Cooperative, one of the 17 member groups forming the MVIWAMBO (Mtandao wa Vikundi Vya Wafugaji Mbozi) Producer Organization. She started dairy farming, when she received a heifer on credit from her neighbor. Initially she ignored cross bred livestock believing they were easily prone to ailment therefore only kept local cattle. Through seminar classes given by the chairman of the Vwawa Dairy Cooperative, she got motivated and started dairy farming of cross bred animals in 1998. Depending mainly on crop cultivation, and with the coffee prices dropping drastically, Hilda decided to start dairy farming to increase her family income.

Currently Hilda has two acres of pasture plot and four cattle: one bull, one calf and two cows which are being milked with an average of 34 liters per day for both cows. She sells 30 litres of the milk per day. Three of her children are now teachers by profession, two are university students and two are in secondary school - all this being made possible by selling the milk she got from her dairy farming. Mrs. Mulungu has also managed to buy a motorbike which she uses for transport.

From Hilda’s farm, the team visited the milk processing factory – Mbozi Maziwa Limited, which is owned by MVIWAMBO. The team sought clarity on who funds the cooperative, where they source raw milk from and what their market for the milk is. It was explained that the factory is financed by the farmers (members) through deductions from the milk they sell and with some contribution from the Local Government Authority. The factory whose capacity is 3000 litres per day can be extended to 8,000 litres. With support from EADD Tanzania and the Mbozi Farmers Livelihood initiative project a Heifer Tanzania project the production and productivity is expected to double within the next three years.

The factory’s targeted market for the processed milk is the Tunduma boarder, Vwawa town, Mlowo town, institutions in the hub catchment and outside the hub catchment and Mbeya city. The Mbozi Maziwa will highly depend on the cooperative structure for the milk bulking and service delivery to farmers.

At the Ndolezi Pre-primary cooperative, the CEO inaugurated the official launch of the cooperative, where he handed over the legal cooperative documents; complimenting them for taking the first steps towards doing dairy farming as a business and urging them to look into milk markets and work towards seeing the cooperative grow.

Speaking to the EADD / Heifer staff later on in a staff meeting, the CEO encouraged the team to push hard on demand for milk and endure to make the milk business a living income for the farmers. He urged the staff to be more helpful to the farmers, “let us be a demand driven organization and stop being a supply driven organization. Train your mind to think about demand, think like a business farmer. Be people who have a real heart for the farmers” He said. The CEO emphasized to the project team to get hands on in getting project activities done, because any success will come not from waiting for people to do things, but by being proactive and getting things done.

Jul 5, 2016

July 2016 Project Report

Farmer Sustainability is a key outcome for the project. It is measured primarily through increased milk productivity per cow per day, which ultimately leads to increased milk production and productivity at the household level. To help farmers achieve maximum yield, we promote knowledge and skills in productivity enhancing technologies, climate smart agriculture and sustainable land management practices.

As a result, farmers adopted productivity enhancing technologies (e.g. feed technologies), and animal health and breeding practices (e.g. artificial insemination) to increase milk production at the household level.

Milk production per day is gradually increasing at the household level. In 2015, Tanzania and Uganda reported increases over the baseline; however, a prolonged drought through mid-2015 caused low milk production in Kenya (see graph at right).

Overall, these results show improved performance among dairy farmers who participate in PO/Hubs, and encourages other farmers to participate in the project.

Productivity Enhancing Technologies
The 2015 Phase II Impact Evaluation shows a positive trend in farmers adopting productivity enhancing technologies at farm level. This is a result of the structures and systems for service delivery we have put in place. The increase in adoption of these technologies was attributed to the increased value farmers attached to them and the model of delivery of the trainings which were participatory.

Animal Health
We teach farmers how to take preventive health measures to ensure the wellbeing of their animals, such as methods for disease prevention, disease treatment and milk hygiene.
In collaboration with local government extension officers and Phase II staff, lead farmers trained their peers in general animal management, and livestock disease prevention and treatment. Farmers received veterinary medicines for animal disease prevention and control, which largely focused on East Coast Fever vaccinations, and worm and tick control.
Additionally, the PO/Hubs developed animal health plans, formed PO/Hub extension committees and recruited extension coordinators, Community Facilitators (CFs) and Community Agro-vet Entrepreneurs (CAVEs). By project end, it will lead to an increase in production and productivity at the household level.
Agro-vets have monitored and reported on disease outbreaks to community and government networks in order to better control the spread and ensure rapid treatment. Below, the Adoption of Animal Health Practices chart indicates that farmers are embracing the techniques that will - over time - lead to increased yield on their farms.

Apr 4, 2016

EADD II Project Report - Apr 2016

Rhobi works at Ol
Rhobi works at Ol'Kalou Dairy Ltd in Kenya

Phase II

Despite a slower than anticipated transition between Phase I and II, the project has gained momentum with several key indicators meeting their targets toward catalyzing sustainable impact. At the same time, there have been significant challenges in the new sites, especially in Tanzania, but also in Uganda.

Progress continues to be made in areas that have fallen below target with continuous monitoring to adjust tactics or consider new interventions to accelerate progress.

The social capital development approach was intensified over the past year, and it has injected new energy into farmer mobilization and recruitment. The formation of Dairy Interest Groups at the community level is designed to enhance farmers’ social cohesion toward joining, accessing and benefiting from PO/Hub services. Though in its early stages, social capital is seen to contribute toward stronger Dairy Interest Group and PO/Hub sustainability through improved leadership, ownership and capacity building.

There was a notable increase of farmers adopting climate smart agriculture and sustainable land management practices. This has been attributed to enhanced training and awareness among farmers.

Sustainability assessments were conducted to direct country-level operational plans and budgets around PO/Hub priorities. The plans are guiding project teams in closing key gaps such as, enhancing the value proposition of PO/Hubs to farmers, and improving market access, governance and financial health.

The 2015 Producer Organization Sustainability Assessment shows that PO/Hub sustainability performance is on an upward trend compared to 2014. Despite slow member registration and a delayed business launch, Tanzania is expected to show accelerated progress in 2016. In Uganda, 85 percent of Phase I PO/Hubs (18 of 21) achieved a score of 50 percent or more, meeting the minimum target to trigger graduation. In Kenya, seven out of the eight PO/Hubs achieved a score of 50 percent, and five PO/Hubs achieved more than 60 percent - denoting readiness to exit the project.

 
   

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