Increasing Dairy Productivity and Incomes for Small Holder Farmers, And Youth Enterprise Development in The Dairy Sector, East and Southern Africa
Dairy is one of the fastest growing agriculture sectors in East and Southern Africa making it the leading milk producer in Africa. East Africa produces 68% of the continent’s milk, with 80 % of this contribution coming from smallholder producers. Approximately 80% of the milk is marketed raw through warm milk chains. The sheer size of the raw milk makes it nearly impossible to ensure milk quality and safety standards are adhered to. Owing to urbanization, population growth and increased household incomes the demand for milk is expected to increase in the region. The increased demand for milk offers an opportunity to transform milk value chains to economies of scale. However, the production reality is that smallholder dairy farmers experience series of challenges ranging from low productivity, poor breeds and breeding practices, poor husbandry practices, limited knowledge on milk quality and safety standards. It is in this context that the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (ACP-EU; CTA) in collaboration with partners in East Africa designed the DAIRYPROFIT project. The project aimed at improving productivity and profitability of smallholder dairy farms and creating employment and business opportunities for youth.
The project was effectively implemented for 18 months and has left behind legacies and innovations in the dairy sector, ranging from ICT platforms, the mini silage-balers, milk dispensing machines and innovative youth businesses. The mini silage-baler has made quality silage easily portable and affordable to smallholder farmers, transforming the silage value chain in the region. The milk dispensing machines in Tanzania has enabled BoP households to access safe and good quality milk. The project created popular ICT platforms for learning, advisory services and trading, attracting over 50000 hits in 3 months. The positive results can be partially attributed to the project’s flexibility in addressing the realities on the ground. In Ethiopia, after a rapid fodder market study it was established that the fodder value chain was underdeveloped with minimal opportunities for youths. The activities were then refocussed towards enhancing capacity of youth led and managed dairy enterprises that were in incubation under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise department. In the same context, Perfometer prepared a business case in the interest of private sector to import a mini-silage baler. This was due to failure to get local fabricators for the mini-silage baler, as envisaged in the project. Subsequently, the nature of field activities by the implementing partner were informed by the state of dairy sector development in the respective countries established during the forage scans.
Transformative dairy practices were identified in both East and Southern Africa through two exchange visits that took place, between Kenya and Zimbabwe. The practices are being piloted with the potential for upscaling through ESADA membership. The project also introduced the first ever dairy awards scheme that was greatly appreciated by the industry actors including the government. The inaugural dairy awards were held in Kenya and have been adopted by the Kenya Dairy Board as an annual event. Ethiopia and Tanzania dairy awards schedules were called off due to the restrictions of field activities related to COVID -19 pandemic. These restrictions have also meant that the contract for ESADA, the lead partner for implementation of Dairy AWARDs, had to be revised to adopt in-house activities such as development of a guideline on industry awards and publicising past winners; and to design and develop a dairy industry Knowledge portal, to pull together information relating to practises around milk quality and standards and to be able to communicate effectively with all industry actors. This also meant that they could not utilise all their contract budget, with about 42,000Eur budget reduction.
The project has achieved all its set targets. A total of 41,766 farmer (against a target of 40,000) reported increasing incomes emanating from improved productivity attributed to better access to fodder and feeding practises. Moreover, up to 45,100 farmers have received advisory services on dairy herd management, silage and fodder services, the advisory services were offered by youth entrepreneurs. The project also worked with youth groups to set up youth businesses around feeds and fodder. The project helped set up 172 new youth enterprises (against a target of 60), reaching a total of 358 youth enterprises during the project period. The youth benefitted from trainings, exchange visits to best practises, innovation grants and equipment.
Two policy briefs were developed in partnership with WUR, one on Quality based milk payment system and the other on Youth as an asset in Dairy in East Africa. Through the additional support from Vet Effect, ICT based training and quality support for Extension workers was undertaken for Kenya and Tanzania. The attached M &E table gives a detailed account of achievements on all project indicators.