Namibia: fighting poverty through milk production
FAO will help to develop the country's dairy sector
4 June 2004, Rome - Poor farmers in northern Namibia will benefit from a new project agreed by FAO and the Government of Namibia to help develop the country's dairy industry, FAO said today.
Northern Namibia suffers from a high level of poverty and food insecurity. Agricultural productivity is low and unemployment is high. Appropriate farming methods as well as marketing infrastructure are needed.
The aim of the FAO project is to improve the income and livelihoods of livestock farmers in the northern region of Namibia.
This will be done by training farmers and others in improved milk production and in the collection, processing and marketing of milk and value-added milk products.
FAO said experience shows that small farmers can improve their earnings from dairy products by up to 50 percent when they are directly involved in processing and marketing their own surplus milk.
Improved food security
Currently Namibia imports large quantities of food products. There is considerable potential for developing the dairy sector, and this would improve food security in the country, strengthen livelihoods and raise nutritional status, FAO said.
However, there is very little knowledge of proper milk handling among farmers, and with the milk still being processed in the traditional way, hygiene and safety measures are often not applied.
There is also widespread consumer perception that locally produced dairy products are unhygienic and unsafe, and so the public often chooses imported milk products even though they are more expensive.
High potential for beneficiaries
The project will demonstrate improved, low-cost, practical technologies for small-scale milk collection and on-farm processing and marketing of butter, buttermilk and fresh cheese.
A public awareness campaign will be launched to raise confidence in the safety of locally produced and processed milk and in its high nutritional value.
Some of the main beneficiaries of the project will be women, who do most of the cattle milking in the region. Providing them with training in milk processing and marketing will help them increase and stabilize their incomes.
Urban consumers including schoolchildren will indirectly benefit from safer and better quality products as more milk becomes available at affordable prices.
The 20-month project will have a budget of US$323 000.
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570 56524
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