Originally published on December 7, 2018.
It’s mid-morning at Young Africa, a vocational training center in in the central province of Sofala Mozambique. Across the facility’s farm a herd of cows is tucked under a shady tree. It’s easy to see – it’s hot. With tall white boots and a white robe on, Flora Vitorino, the farm manager, doesn’t seem to mind. She is used to hot days managing the farm. And, it’s an exciting day at Young Africa Training Centre. Flora is striding over to feed a heifer who just gave birth to a female calf.
Just three years ago, Flora had no experience working in dairy. To increase her professional skills and employability, she enrolled in a short-term agricultural course offered by Young Africa. Neighbors and colleagues scoffed at the notion that she could successfully complete the course. That motivated her to complete her course with distinction. The center offers training courses on an array of topics: poultry-breeding, food production, aquaculture, agribusiness and more.
Since 2015, with funding support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the training center now offers a module on dairy as part of the agricultural course. The module is facilitated by Land O´Lakes International Development and includes practical exposure at the school farm.
“I just fell in love with all the aspects of dairy farming,” Flora says.
Due to Flora’s good academic performance in the dairy module, in July 2015 she was invited to join the team responsible for taking care of the school dairy farm. This team was established under the previous Mozambique Development Program (MDDP) funded by USDA-funded Food for Progress imitative.
Currently Flora simultaneously is responsible for the team that takes care of farm and also works at the school’s micro processing plant that will commence functioning in November. Her dream is to get all the knowledge and experience in farm management and processing so that one day she can establish her own dairy business.
Flora´s ambition is to become an agronomist and a teacher at Young Africa.
The ongoing USDA-funded MERCADO project is assisting Young Africa to increase their dairy herd co-financing the acquisition of 6 dairy cows.