This project improved the productivity and market access of about 1500 smallholder milk producers, members of five dairy cooperatives in Zambia and two cooperatives in Lesotho, making the smallholder dairy farmers stronger players in the dairy supply chain through the promotion of value adding technologies and strengthening of farmer organisations. The project operated at three levels: 1) Promoting improved and innovative livestock feeding technologies for local production and conservation of protein-rich feed stock, 2) Enhancing milk quality and hygiene to reduce wastage and increase shelf life and safety of the milk, 3) Improving the efficiency of the processing sector in Lesotho and its links with the smallholder dairy cooperatives.
The Project Completion Review presented evidence that the project was successful in meeting its targets of improving the productivity and marketing position of smallholder dairy co-operatives in Lesotho and Zambia and generating extra income for the farmers. Productivity has reached an average of 10L/cow/day in Lesotho (up from 7 L at the start of the project) and 6 L/cow/day in Zambia (up from 2.5 L) and it has stabilized during the dry season. Calf survival rate and calving interval have improved significantly as well. The quality of milk has improved considerably along with the prices per Liter paid by the industry to the smallholders. The demand of quality milk increased by demand from private sector partners such as Parmalat, Dairy King, Zambeef and Surprise Dairy. While in Zambia at the start of the project smallholder dairy production was already emerging and was seeking linkages with the formal market, in Lesotho this process had to be initiated after many years of neglect. To fill this gap funds have been allocated to support the improvement of the dairy processing activity in Lesotho and the upgrading of the milk collection centers. The capacity to control the milk quality and hygiene in Lesotho has improved with equipment installed by the project. In Lesotho the project played a crucial role in engaging the Government, who declared Dairy as a priority sector for National Food Security and agreed to create a national platform to stimulate dairy development. The dairy processor in Lesotho (LDP) reported that milk production in the project area increased by about 25% over four years.