ST. PAUL, Minn., March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A delegation of U.S. officials representing the legislative and non-profit arenas recently traveled to Malawi to visit the Chitsanzo Milk Bulking Group. This is a smallholder dairy cooperative developed by Land O'Lakes International Development through the Malawi Dairy Development Alliance, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. The visit was in support of the Obama Administration's Feed the Future food security initiative.
The Chitsanzo Milking Bulking Group, one of 23 similar groups receiving assistance through the program, is increasing incomes for more than 260 dairy farmer-members and participating stakeholders by building economies of scale in milk production, collection and processing, as well as meeting demand for affordable, locally produced, dairy products.
Included in the visiting delegation, hosted by USAID and the grassroots advocacy group the ONE Campaign, was:
- Former Representative Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.)
- Sally Canfield, Deputy Chief of Staff for Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
- Christy Gleason, Senior Advisor to Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.)
- Walt Kuhn, Counsel for Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.)
- Bill Harper, Chief of Staff for Representative Betty McCollum (D-Minn.)
- George McElwee, Chief of Staff to Representative Charles Dent (R-Pa.)
While visiting the Chitsanzo Milk Bulking Group, attendees participated in three breakout sessions. The first session involved direct interaction with Chitsanzo farmers to better understand how dairy farming has impacted their lives. The second provided an opportunity to speak with a female farmer who has used the milk from her one cow to purchase more land, grow more crops, hire five employees and start a piggery, as well as feed her family and send her children to school. The final session consisted of a tour of the milk cooling facility and recognition of some of the program's private sector partners.
"Throughout the visit, we emphasized that the Malawi Dairy Development Alliance is a private sector development program that is building the capacity of famers, producer groups, input suppliers and service providers," said Derek Mullen, Malawi Country Manager for Land O'Lakes International Development. "Through milk bulking groups, farmers are able to access the credit, inputs, services, information and access to markets needed to maximize the profits of their businesses."
Since the program's creation in 2007, Land O'Lakes has worked with alliance partners to strengthen 14 private sector input suppliers – including suppliers of feed, livestock insurance, mobile banking services, credit and artificial insemination services – and four dairy producer associations to support growth of the smallholder dairy industry in Malawi. Together, USAID, Land O' Lakes and local and regional associations support the alliance by providing farmers and processors with access to finance and training in cattle health, sanitation, and market development practices. To date, the Malawi Dairy Development Alliance has supported approximately 2,600 smallholder farmers in these milk bulking groups, and their 15,000 family members, in the country's Central and Northern regions.
Additional results include:
- The value of investment by public, private and non-governmental organizations in the dairy sector is more than $10 million.
- The volume of milk collected by milk bulking groups (MBGs) is 3,580,000 liters, or an increase of more than 140 percent.
- The value of milk is more than $1 million, representing an increase of more than 180 percent.
- The volume of milk supplied to dairy processing plants by MBGs increased to 3.3 million liters, an increase of more than 140 percent.
- The volume of dairy supplementary feeds is recorded at 332.69 tons, an increase of more than 200 percent.
- The value of dairy supplementary feeds is $89,610, an increase of more than 330 percent.
Land O'Lakes, Inc. (www.landolakesinc.com) is a national, farmer-owned food and agricultural cooperative with annual sales of $11 billion. Land O'Lakes does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. It is a leading marketer of a full line of dairy-based consumer, foodservice and food ingredient products across the United States; serves its international customers with a variety of food and animal feed ingredients; and provides farmers and ranchers with an extensive line of agricultural supplies (feed, seed, and crop protection products) and services. Land O'Lakes also provides agricultural assistance and technical training in more than 25 developing nations.
Leveraging the company's 90 years of cooperative heritage, since 1981 Land O'Lakes International Development has been generating economic growth, improving health and nutrition and alleviating poverty around the world through market-driven business solutions. Functioning as a not-for-profit division, Land O'Lakes International Development has improved life for millions of people through more than 260 programs in 76 countries funded primarily by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). For more information, please visit www.idd.landolakes.com.
SOURCE Land O'Lakes, Inc.