How one dairy cow can change an entire community

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Programs to help Kenyan moms become small dairy farmers helps them generate greater income through the sale of quality milk.

As part of the A ONE Moms initiative, blogger Jennifer James shares the story of Teresia Riungu, a Nakuru, Kenya dairy farmer who has managed to provide a living for herself in her retirement and has created enough work to employ others. Her small dairy farm is contributing to food security in her community as well as a food product that is nutritious for consumers which is important to the overall health of the country.

Riungu is a beneficiary of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Kenya Dairy Sector Competitiveness Program (KDSCP), which has helped to transform the Kenyan dairy industry into a globally competitive, regional market leader by increasing smallholder household incomes by more than 200 percent through the sale of quality milk. KDSCP worked to eliminate inefficiencies, and lower production and processing costs throughout the dairy value chain, while at the same time ensuring that Kenyan milk meets domestic and international quality standards.

KDSCP conducted activities to increase the sector’s competitiveness in the regional marketplace, encourage storage, packaging and safety standards, improve the policy and regulatory environment and foster better environmental stewardship. Specifically, the program organized small-scale farmers into dairy cooperatives and other community-based organizations in order to increase their bargaining power and incomes. The program also assisted those organizations to create processing plants and distribution systems, and partnered with processors to create and market new value-added products such as flavored yoghurt.

Participating farmers were educated about ways to increase productivity, for example, by using high quality formulated feeds and productivity-enhancing technologies like Artificial Insemination. In addition, trainings were held on ways farmers can maintain a green and clean environment; for example, trainings on disease control emphasized proper disposal of pesticides and medical waste, and the utilization of animal waste for clean energy like biogas.

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