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Women in western Tanzania benefit from dairy farming

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Consolata Andrew is one of many women who have ventured into a dairy farming in Isagehe ward of Kahama, one of the eight districts in Tanzania’s Lake Zone region of Shinyanga.

Andrew is a mother of five in the area, one of the booming areas in Lake Zone because of the presence of minerals, mainly gold, which attract a lot of immigrants from within and outside the region.

This is what made rural communities around the Kahama township to venture into a number of socioeconomic projects including dairy farming.

In this aspect, there are many women in Isagehe ward like Andrew who have started benefiting out of the dairy farming as a result of reliable market.

Before venturing into modern dairy farming, women in the area used to live miserable lives, but now things have changed to the better, thanks to the initiatives made by charity organization World Vision Tanzania (WVT) which provided of improved dairy cattle to the needy people in the area under the “pass-on scheme”.

At its onset, selected rural communities were trained on artificial insemination technology. The move increased the number of improved dairy cattle in the area where people used to raise indigenous cattle which have proved to be ineffective in milk production.

After the project kicked off, farmers witnessed a hike of milk production in the area, to the extent that they end up at a “throw- away” price.

“We used to sell the milk to the middlemen who took our product and sell to as far as Kahama town and Shinyanga for high and better profit compared to what we were getting,” says Andrew.

Dairy cattle farmers in Isagehe had to scrutinize on ways of getting out of the poverty trap and finally they decided to form a group which is known as Isagehe Dairy Cattle Keepers Association.

“We tried to look for the reliable market in Kahama town and neighboring areas. But, things remained tough as our product wasn’ t processed,” she says, adding that later the group approached WVT again to look for support on the need for them to have a small- scale milk processing plant.

“As farmers, we are happy now as we have got the plant and we are assured of the market as we can sell our milk in distant areas as far as Mwanza,” she says.

“Before getting the plant we were able to process only 50 liters a day, but after getting this new plant we are able to process more than 500 liters a day,” says Msafiri Selemani, another member of the group.

“All supermarkets around are full of our milk products. I am proud to be a member of the group,” says Rose Kasubi who owns two dairy cows.

She says she gets 20 liters of milk every day and sells at 800 Tanzanian shillings (0.4 U.S. dollars) per liter, compared to 400 Tanzanian shillings (0.2 U.S. dollars) she used to sell before.

So, for her she earns around 260 U.S. dollars per month, something which is a good opportunities for rural communities in the area.

Before venturing into the project, Kasubi used to live in a grass-thatched house, but now she is living in a corrugated iron sheet roofed house.

The money she gets from the venture is used to pay school fees for her children and meeting the family 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.”

Chairman of the group Enoka Bunagana describes milk as a “white gold” and dairy farming is an investment option for rural communities.

Bunagana says his association has been grappling towards improving milk products.

“We are struggling to certify our product with Tanzania Bureau of Standards barcode so that we can expand our market horizon to as far as neighboring countries,” he says, adding that getting own barcode is a big step towards improving the business environment and getting rid of the inconveniences that businesses face.

The barcode technology enables consumers to know the country of origin, production system, product traceability as well as quality and safety of the product.



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