The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) confirms closure by end of 2020.
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Increasing dairy productivity and incomes for smallholder farmers, and youth enterprise development in the dairy sector East and Southern Africa (DAIRYPROFIT)



The East African region produces 68% of the continent’s milk output, with Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania among the biggest dairy producers. Smallholder milk production accounts for up to 80% of milk produced in the region; most of this milk (80%) is marketed raw, through a ‘warm’ chain (raw milk chain), which makes it almost impossible to ensure milk quality and safety standards.


In a country like Kenya and Rwanda, there is an emergence of an alternative channel for pasteurised milk outlet, using the milk-dispensing technologies. Though the hygiene and safety of pasteurised milk is said to be better relative to raw milk, there are concerns about the quality of dispensing machines and hygiene around such establishments. However, these machines have the potential to spur milk-retail enterprises for youth.

Southern Africa countries like Zimbabwe and Zambia are emerging markets for dairy production. Unlike East Africa, milk production in these countries is mainly by large-scale dairy farms, smallholder dairy farmers are only now emerging but, due to its ability to provide daily cash, dairy farming is increasingly becoming an investment choice for many smallholder farmers. 

Due to urbanisation, population growth and improving household incomes, the demand for milk and milk products will continue to grow in East and Southern Africa, which offers opportunities to transform milk chains to economies of scale, improve milk quality and safety and promote the inclusion of more smallholder producers and entrepreneurial youth.


The overall aim of the project is to improve productivity and incomes for smallholder dairy farmers and increase youth enterprise development in the dairy sector in East and Southern Africa. By doing so, the project proposes to address the three main constraints in the dairy sector in these regions:

  • Productivity and profitability of smallholder dairy farms (supply level constraints)
  • Market access for smallholder farmers (demand level constraints)
  • Quality of milk from smallholder farmers (nutritional constraints).

The project will work with dairy cooperatives and processors interested in scaling ICT-enabled advisory services to farmers to create a sustainable mechanism for service delivery. The project will also work with national partners, such as Performeter (Kenya) and Match Maker (Tanzania), to scale these advisory services. In addition, the project will work with the Eastern and Southern Africa Dairy Association (ESADA) to scale innovations and to promote the exchange of knowledge between East Africa and Southern Africa.


This 2-year project (2018-2019) aims to improve productivity and profitability of smallholder dairy farms and create employment and business opportunities for youth in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Project activities fall under three key components:

  1. Improved forage supply chains; production, preservation and commercialisation
    In partnership with cooperatives and processors, the project will develop an incentive-based business module for initiating and sustaining youth-led fodder enterprises. Building on initiatives such as youth enterprises on silage, cooperative-based extensions services and private extension service providers, the project will catalyse and scale fodder supply chains and develop new enterprises for youth.

  2. Youth entrepreneurs, in collaboration with processors/cooperatives, provide dairy services to actors
    Collaboration of processors and cooperatives with youth enterprises and innovative service provision to chain actors will include fodder supply service companies, cooperatives, milk retail systems and base-of-the-pyramid marketing on pasteurised milk. Utilising the opportunities presented by milk shades and supply hubs, the project will facilitate the partnership between youth entrepreneurs and processors to offer quality milk to lower-income consumers. The project will work with dairy regulatory institutions to regularise milk vending machines and enforce safety standards through certification schemes.

  3. Improved milk quality and standards improved through industry level awareness and action
    The project will collaborate with companies and industry stakeholders (ESADA, milk processors, cooperatives, and regulators) to increase awareness and education on milk quality, hygiene and safety. Learning and knowledge sharing will be facilitated through regional exchange workshops and competitive AWARD schemes.


The project is expected to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Improved forage supply and management resulting in increased dairy productivity
  • Improved service delivery to farmers’ organisations and increased youth enterprise development in business relationship with cooperatives and processors like dairy management advisory ICT services, feed & fodder enterprises, and bottom of the pyramid milk retail solutions (including milk dispensing technologies).
  • Improved milk quality and standards through increased industry level awareness and action.
  • Improved knowledge exchange between East and Southern African regions.

The initiative is expected to directly impact on 40,000 dairy farmers and 60 new enterprises. In addition, it is expected that many more farmers will be impacted indirectly as a result of increased industry level quality awareness and education on dairy quality and safety.