Success Stories for Food Security

Sri Lanka: Breeding best practices boost dairy farm productivity
Two months ago, Chandrika Jayasinghe decided it was finally time to close down the small clothing shop she’d managed for over a decade.

“I realized that dairy farming was far more lucrative, and it was worth devoting my energy to it fulltime so that I can reap the greatest possible rewards.”

Along with her husband Ajit Kumara de Silva, the couple has been increasingly focused on dairy over the past three years, especially on improving their animals through artificial insemination.

The couple has been helped in their efforts by the Dairy Enhancement in Eastern Province (DEEP), a program managed by Land O’Lakes and funded by USAID to improve the food security and income of Sri Lankan dairy producers.

sri lankan farmWith a $154 grant from DEEP and her own contribution of $308, Chandrika was able to obtain her first hybrid animal. “My first cow was so incredibly productive and would yield up to 15 liters a day. I was so motivated by her output that I decided to sell my unproductive local cows for $462, which allowed me to buy two more improved-breed cows,” Chandrika said. She added she had never known about artificial insemination before DEEP or even of the existence of hybrid breeds.

Although the couple had purchased a basic cowshed to shelter their local-breed cow from the intense heat and rain, they decided to upgrade the structure once they got involved with DEEP and started caring for improved breed cows. With $501 of their own funds, which was matched by $300 from the government’s Mahaweli project, they were able to purchase a superior cowshed, which provides grazing stalls and a clean channel to catch animal waste.

The couple also purchased a cutting machine to ensure they could supply their cows with adequate grass. In addition, they’re giving their animals concentrated feed each day, which is made by a nearby plant.

Chandrika says she received a wide variety of training through DEEP on feeding, breeding and animal care, and the way the program connected her to the local veterinary officer was particularly helpful. She said, “Now, when I call the vet, he comes immediately, because he knows what good animals I have!”

Ethiopia: Cooperatives fight food insecurity with business investments
Ethiopia has long fought the twin challenges of hunger and food insecurity. An active participant in this fight, ACDI/VOCA partnered with the Selale Dairy Producers Cooperative Union in 2010 to make investments in local agricultural production to fill market gaps and improve local food quality and availability.

ethiopian coopAlready, this partnership has yielded fruit: ACDI/VOCA and the union — comprising 27 cooperative associations with members from 2,000 households — inaugurated a major animal feed-processing plant and also laid the cornerstone for a dairy-processing plant in February 2011.

Both the feed- and dairy-processing plants will help improve food security for poorer households and drive local economic growth as part of ACDI/VOCA’s larger development activities in Ethiopia.

A major challenge to the development of Ethiopia’s livestock sector has been a lack of manufactured animal feed. The union’s new feed mill — built at a cost of approximately $30,000 for equipment, land and building — will overcome this challenge and boost the local economy.

“The equipment that the union is using will produce up to 2,000 metric tons of feed per year,” said ACDI/VOCA-Ethiopia Chief of Party John “Bick” Riley at the feed mill launch. “It’s a good beginning. Through this mill, members of the union will have safe feed, with a significant reduction of nutritional problems as well as diseases and contamination.”

Good quality animal feed is crucial for animal weight gain and increased dairy production. In Ethiopia, where the livestock population may be the largest in Africa, ACDI/VOCA’s work in feed development is fundamental.

During the same day of the feed mill launch, the Selale Union laid the cornerstone for a new dairy-processing plant that will cost approximately $1.34 million. Union General Manager Hailu Tadesse says the plant will be finalized within a year, and he expects it will create seasonal and permanent job opportunities for more than 40 people.

The plant will help farmers earn a fair price for their dairy products as well as improve cooperatives’ productivity. Previously, intermediates would pay the farmers low prices for the milk and then more than double the price for consumers.

The Selale Dairy Producers Cooperative Union was established in 2001 and receives support from ACDI/VOCA's Feed Enhancement for Ethiopian Development (FEED) project, which is funded by USDA. FEED provided technical assistance and in-kind contributions of approximately 150,000 birr in the form of feed-milling equipment and related materials.