New US$4 million program for dairy hubs in East Africa

Heifer International is partnering with the U.N.’s International Fund for Agricultural Development to launch a $4 million program for dairy farmers in East Africa.

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 the two countries.

Heifer International is contributing US$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 US$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.” 

Heifer’s mission is to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth. For more than 70 years, Heifer International has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Heifer is currently working in more than 30 countries, including the United States, to help families and communities become more self-reliant. For information, visit read our blog, follow us on Facebook, on Twitter or call 888.5HUNGER (888.548.6437).

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. The conference was organized in response to the food crises of the early 1970s that primarily affected the Sahelian countries of Africa. It resolved that "an International Fund for Agricultural Development should be established immediately to finance agricultural development projects primarily for food production in the developing countries." One of the most important insights emerging from the conference was that the causes of food insecurity and famine were not so much failures in food production but structural problems relating to poverty, and to the fact that the majority of the developing world's poor populations were concentrated in rural areas.