Agriculture / Article / Dairying / East Africa / Livelihoods / Livestock Systems / Pro-Poor Livestock / Tanzania / Women

‘White gold’ improves lives of women in western Tanzania

milk at a chilling plant

Milk at a chilling plant (photo credit: Flickr/eadairy).

By Mercy Becon

Access to a reliable dairy market and good market prices of milk has transformed the lives of dairy farmers in Kahama District in Tanzania’s Lake zone of Shinyanga. These farmers are beneficiaries of a World Vision Tanzania (WVT) initiative to improve farmers’ lives by developing dairy farming.

According to an article published in coastweek.com, World Vision Tanzania ‘trained the selected rural communities on artificial insemination, increasing the number of improved dairy cattle that have replaced the indigenous cattle which proved to be less effective in milk production’.

To escape poverty, farmers decided to form a dairy cattle keepers’ association for collective action such as sourcing of markets for their dairy products. WVT also established a small-scale milk processing plant, which has greatly increased milk processing in the area and enabled farmers to sell their milk in distant areas.

One female farmer, Rose Kasubi, who owns two dairy cows, said she gets 20 litres of milk every day, some of which which she sells at Tsh 800 (USD 0.4) per litre, compared to Tsh 400 (USD 0.2) she used to sell before. She earns a USD 260 each month.

‘All supermarkets around are full of our milk products. I am proud to be a member of the group,’ said Kasubi.

Another group member said that ‘before getting the plant, we used to process only 50 litres of milk a day, but after getting this new plant we process more than 500 litres daily’.

Before venturing into the project, Kasubi lived in a grass-thatched house, but has now constructed a corrugated iron sheet-roofed house. The money she gets from the venture is used to pay school fees for her children and to meet the family’s needs, she says. ‘My children are also free from malnutrition as everyday they get a cup of milk. All these are the benefits of this farming venture.’

The association’s chairman describes milk as ‘white gold’ and dairy farming as an investment option for rural communities, adding that his group is striving to improve its milk products to market in neighbouring countries and is currently making arrangements to be issued with bar codes.

Read the full article ‘Women in western Tanzania benefit from dairy farming

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