Dairy cattle in East Africa are more than just cash cows. With dairy demand expected to continue to rise, dairy cows represent the enormous opportunity in the dairy sector to transform livelihoods all along the dairy value chain. Yet, pressing challenges—including poor access to animal care, insufficient knowledge on animal breeding and handling, and weak market links—constrain industry growth. Mayasa Simba, winner of the 2014 Dairy Value Chain Challenge Prize, will use the package of technical support to foster quality milk production in Tanzania with the goal of improving farmer incomes and public health. Simba will partner with her colleague at the Tanzania Dairy Board, Deogratius Mlay, on her quality assurance efforts.
Creating integrative solutions to these challenges demands the expertise of a diverse set of stakeholders in the dairy value chain. To this end, US non-profit, the Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI) convened more than 50 problem solvers at a Dairy Value Chain Collaboration Colloquium with support from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Land O’Lakes International Development. Held on May 8, 2014 in Kampala, Uganda, the Collaboration Colloquium enabled participants to share knowledge, gain skills, and initiate solution-building partnerships. To promote continued collaboration beyond the event, GKI developed the Dairy Value Chain Challenge Prize, with the generous support of Agri-ProFocus and SNV, the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI), and the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST). An international Technical Review Committee selected Simba’s proposal amongst several quality submissions. By executing a training and certification scheme for stakeholders in milk production and implementing a milk promotion campaign, Simba and Mlay’s proposal aims to prime milk producers to enter the formal market, increase consumer confidence, and strengthen the national dairy sector.
As Simba and Mlay take on their challenge, the Prize sponsors will provide training, consultation, and strategic connections and services. This network of support will facilitate technical components of the project—training manuals, hygiene codes, and sensitization techniques—and also build the capacity of the Dairy Board. To integrate the team’s work with other efforts to address dairy sector challenges, GKI will communicate their progress to potential collaborators and continue to link the team to GKI sponsored skill-building events. Simba described the potential impact of the Prize support on their challenge: “The overall goal of our intervention is to have a regulated, competitive, and healthy dairy industry. With the resources and connections the Prize provides, we can really do something for the dairy sector and improve Tanzanian livelihoods.”
For more information on the Dairy Value Chain Challenge Prize, contact Program Officer Courtney O’Brien at email@example.com.
Contributors: Caroline Smeallie and Courtney O’Brien.