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Gates Foundation rolls out Tanzanian dairy project

The East African Dairy Development Project (EADD) recently received US$25.5mn from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand its operations into Tanzania

The EADD has already rolled out programmes in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, it said.

More than 200 participants attended the launch of the Tanzanian phase of the project in late March 2014 among them players in the country’s dairy sector, including dairy processors, officials from the Tanzania Dairy Board, dairy farmers, banks and microfinance organisations.

The EADD is a regional program led by the Heifer International in partnership with the International Livestock Research institute (ILRI), TechnoServe, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the African Breeder Service Total Cattle Management (ABS-TCM).

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the project works with 179,000 families living on 1-5 acre plots and keeping a few dairy cows, EADD said.

Tanzanian officials attending the launch expressed the government’s commitment to the project with local dairy officials instructed to factor in the EADD 2 in their budgets.

According to Heifer International, the implementer of the project, the aim is to strengthen relationships between farmers, processers, distributors and consumers in a region where milk demand outstrips supply.

“Our goal is to change the face of the dairy industry in order to improve food security, nutrition and create sustainable livelihoods for the East African Community,” observed Elizabeth Bintliff, vice-president for African Programmes at Heifer International.

“We pay attention to all activities in the dairy chain at all levels from production systems at household levels to the hubs of processors and policy makers, all while working to ensure that the gains are not just economic but social as well,” noted Bintliff.

During the launch, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which is major EADD partner, was represented by Amos Omore, the ILRI country representative in Tanzania and Edgar Twine, a value chain economist.

Mwangi Mumero