Improved food security by linking farmers to value-added chains that helped to build profitable and sustainable livestock and dairy businesses
Zimbabwe historically had a relatively robust dairy industry, filled with commercial farmers, and heavily subsidized smallholder farmers. But land reforms, economic woes and natural disaster devastated the country’s dairy sector and its productive industry. Huge portions of the value chain were broken – which could only be fixed by changing mindsets and promoting the intrinsic value of competitiveness.
Funded by USAID, ZLD was led by Land O’Lakes, in partnership with the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers (ZADF), Tiller’s International, International Relief & Development (IRD) and MicroKing. The program linked smallholder dairy farmers to functioning milk markets; improved access to animal health and on-farm fodder production; and developed donkey traction in support of dairy production and market access. Farming households saw a 743 percent increase in annual dairy incomes by producing an estimated 3.6 million liters of milk worth $1,520,595.
Conceptualized and implemented as an economic growth program for vulnerable yet viable farmers, ZDL was first launched as a pilot program in January 2010, and then extended into a full program through November 2013. Through the program, ZLD farmers have become more credit-worthy, having repaid $283,734 to the revolving Cattle Bank facility, and for stock feed, veterinary drugs, and milking equipment. They were then connected to MicroKing, which developed a cattle loan product. To date, farmers have maintained a 100 percent repayment rate.
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