LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (HEIFER INTERNATIONAL) - Heifer International received a $25.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand the East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) project and assist more than 136,000 farm families in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Heifer International will work with and invite new investors from the public and private sectors to raise an additional $16 million over five years to fully fund phase two of the regional project, which is designed to eradicate poverty in these developing countries. The project enables smallholder farmers to profitably participate in the growing dairy industry, improving nutrition and increasing farmer income and access to markets.
In 2008, the EADD program was implemented in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda with an initial grant from the Gates Foundation of $51.3 million. This new grant will expand the EADD program to Tanzania while scaling up the impact of work in Kenya and Uganda. The second phase of the program will build upon the successes and existing work of creating a robust dairy industry in this region where demand for fresh milk is close to outstripping supply.
The goal of phase one was to reach one million people, approximately 179,000 families, who were living on small 1-5 acre farms and to double dairy-derived income for these families by 2017. Since 2009, EADD partner farmers have produced 297 million liters of milk with more than $131 million in sales.
The EADD project supports the organization of dairy farmers' business associations to develop dairy hubs providing most of the services that may be required by small-scale dairy farmers to increase their productivity and market access. Such services include financial services or village-based banks, health insurance for farmers, hardware stores, animal husbandry, breeding, animal health, extension service, and livestock insurance through partnerships with insurance companies.
"Our goal is to change the face of the dairy industry in order to improve food security, nutrition and create sustainable livelihoods for the East Africa community," said Elizabeth Bintliff, vice president for Africa programs at Heifer International.
"We will be paying attention to activity in the dairy chain at all levels, from production systems at the household level to the hubs to processors and policy makers, all the while working to ensure that the gains of the project are not just economic but social as well," she continued.
The second phase of EADD will implement new technologies and practices in locations where the dairy industry is more mature. In Kenya, for example, Heifer and its partners will help establish new technologies such as innovative approaches to fodder production, alternative energy sources, and, in partnership with Seattle-based Global Good, developing and marketing an improved milk transport container that helps dairy farmers maximize their yield while reducing costly spillage and spoilage.
Ultimately, Heifer is strengthening the relationship between farmers, processors, distributors and consumers behind each glass of milk in East Africa. By improving the entire system that allows for profit on each level, close to a million people will have access to food, jobs, income, education, and financial and medical services, breaking the cycle of extreme poverty throughout the region.
Heifer International and its partners in the EADD project-TechnoServe, International Livestock Research Institute, African Breeders Services and World Agroforestry Centre-continue their efforts to make connections between a variety of stakeholders, including governments, businesses and farmers.
"Our partners are crucial in formulating and delivering the services that the dairy famers in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda require to upgrade and elevate their ability to connect with a professional, sophisticated and modern dairy sector," said Pierre Ferrari, President and CEO of Heifer International.