b'asked & answered DEVELOPING WITH DAIRYLEFTCharlotte sets out on her daily delivery to the local milk collection point. Many Rwandan farmers travel more than 5 kilometers, upward of 3 miles, each way to sell milk to a collection facility. TOP RIGHTFarmers deliver fresh milk to the Rambura Milk Collection Point, an important access point for the regional dairy Why Crymarket built with Heifers support.BOTTOM RIGHTAfter Heifers Over Spilledtraining on how to cultivate nutritious fodder, Samson and Charlotte have Milk? improved the health and productivity of their cows.by Alyssa Cogan, World Ark managing editorallocating most of it for householdneed to reliably get their products toareas where the road network is not CHARLOTTE NIZEYIMANA AND HER HUSBAND,But, despite the dairy markets potential to help farmersconsumption. And while producingcustomers, such as electricity, roadgood, so the produced milk doesnt SAMSON, RISE EARLY, the first sliver of sunshine over theearn, turning milk into money is a precarious arrangementfood to eat is vital for farming families,networks and collection facilities.reach the facilities.rolling, green hills in Cyanika, Rwanda, a signal there isfor rural producers like Charlotte and Samson, because theselling products in a formal market isAccording to FAO, for example, itEven when farmers can get their work to be done. As small-scale dairy farmers, Charlottepresence of an active market is only one challenge toessential for purchasing what thosetakes farming households in Nepal anproducts to market, lack of and Samson earn only when they sell, hard-won incomeovercomeand reaching it is another. products themselves cant provide,average of more than 11 minutes toinfrastructure can prevent goods from the result of mornings spent feeding, watering, milkingsuch as medicine, schoolbooks andreach a paved road.remaining in a condition that earns and making daily trips to the local collection point, on foot,Spilled Milk, Spoiled Opportunity home repairs. Physical access to markets is athe farmer a fair price. In villages like so the milk from their cows can be transported for sale.While the majority of people in rural, developingStill, the cost of participating in abarrier for farmers in Rwanda, too,Cyanika, Charlotte and other dairy Milk is big business in Rwanda, with a booming exportcommunities rely on agriculture for their livelihood, 2015market can be too expensive orsaid Thomas Semahoro, interimfarmers must trek several kilometers market in Democratic Republic of Congo, its neighbor toresearch from the Food and Agriculture Organizationdifficult for many rural farmers, whoproject manager for Heifer Rwandasby foot or bicycle to deliver their milk the west, and a large domestic demand that current local(FAO) found many of these farmers sell only a fraction ofmay have inconsistent production ordairy development project. Farmers a race against the clock under the production cant yet fill. Plenty of buyers means rural milkwhat they produce, due to weak market connections, highbe forced to rely on costlyhave to travel long distances, hehot Rwandan sun. producers can profit, generating what they need to providefarm-level losses, lack of equipment and other hardships.transportation services to haul theirexplained. If the [collection] facility isWhen transporting milk for a long food, shelter, education and other essentials for theirFarmers in both Bangladesh and Kenya, for example,goods. Others may not have access tonot close to you, then transportdistance, the milk loses its quality, families. earn income from just over 20% of what they raise or grow,the necessary infrastructure theybecomes an issue. We do have somesaid Thomas. Then when the milk 16| SUMMER 2023 HEIFER.ORG |17'