b'asked & answered DEVELOPING WITH DAIRYreaches the milk collection center it is tested andAs a result, daily milk production increased frompreviously disconnected from opportunity. The collection rejected because of not meeting the requiredaround 3 litersto 15 liters from an improved dairy cow,point also offers a competitive rate: Through Rambura, standard.Samson said, explaining how he has since implementedThomas explained, farmers are paid three times more for a Spoilage such as this and other inefficienciesnew feeding and shelter practices, as recommended byliter of milk than what they could previously negotiate on in agricultural harvesting, transportation, storageHeifer, on his farm.their own. and processing contribute to devastatingThe current cows eat fodder and they live in a cowRegionally, centers like Rambura are expanding and nutritional and economic losses every year. Theshed which keeps them healthy and clean.dairy producers recognize a growing demand. This is a United Nations estimates more than 13% of foodAs the field school group grew their farms they weregood sign of development in my view, Thomas said, produced globally is lost before it ever reaches adriven to expand their market access, using their collectivebecause its a motivation to continue increasing the milk. retail market. The ratio is worse in sub-Saharansavings to buy land and construct a milk collection facility,Its motivation to continue having more productive cows, Africa, where research from the Rockefellerthe Rambura Milk Collection Point, with Heifers support.and it increases farmers incomes on a monthly, even on a Foundation found that 37% of all food produced isThe milk collection point has created a marketdaily basis. lost before it can arrive on a familys table. Inopportunity for milk in our area, said Samson, who nowThis transformation includes Charlotte and Samson, Nigeria alone, 45-60% of tomatoes perish at thesells two-thirds of his cows milk production to thewhose life is completely different now. Their earnings farm level and, without refrigerated storage, thecollection point and keeps the rest to feed his family.from the milk collection point and continued support of remaining crop incrementally loses its value withBefore it was built, we were finding it hard to get totheir field school group have enabled them to expand their each passing day.the market. crop and dairy farming and pay for everything their three For farmers like Charlotte and Samson, theseThe Rambura facility serves the region, collectingchildren need, including health insurance and school losses are a heavy burden to bear. Each difficultyaround 3,000 liters of milk from local producers daily andlunch. I believe I will be wealthy in the future because of in the way of producing and transportingtransferring the milk to a larger dairy processing plant onthe money I earn from [my] milk business, said Samson. perishables to customers is an obstacle to earningtheir behalf, removing the barrier of distance for thoseMy milk business will be at an amazing level.n and every drop of lost milk, a lost dollar.Milk MoneyTOP Not long ago, the dairy market in Cyanika was soI believe I will be wealthy in the future because of the money I earn from After being sold to the collectionunreliable Charlotte and Samson were barely[my] milk business. My milk business will be at an amazing level.point, milk issustaining themselves by growing potatoes and transported to a processing planttea on a small plot of land and selling milk to local SAMSON USENGIMANAwhere it is resoldrestaurants for a nominal return.at a small markup. TheThe price was small and getting the buyers profits go towardwas also difficult, said Samson. I could [go] threeCharlotte updates herMilk is quality tested the collectionmonths without changing a trouser and a vest orrecords after making theat the collection point points operatingdays sales to the milkbefore continuing expenses.even washing them because I was poor. Now thiscollection point. Heiferson to market.remains in the past.business training helps BOTTOM farmers manage their MarketThrough Heifers dairy development project, aprofits once they are developmentpartnership with the Rwandan governmentsconnected to a market.also sparks jobMinistry of Agriculture and Animal Resources creation in rural communities.and the International Fund for Agricultural The RamburaDevelopment, Charlotte and Samson joined a Milk Collection Point employsLivestock Farmer Field School, a group of mostly five permanentdairy farmers working and saving money staff, includingtogether to strengthen their agricultural veterinary officer Grace Nirembere,businesses. Through the group, they received and around 40training on improved cattle keeping, including milk transporters.the importance of selecting the right breed of cow and how to care for the animals to maintain their well-being and milk production. 18| SUMMER 2023 HEIFER.ORG |19'