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How Tech Improves Dairy Farming in Ethiopia

USAID has partnered with farmers in Ethiopia to provide farming technology, such as portable milking machines and chopping machines, to increase productivity and maintain the quality of farm products.

A temperate climate and fertile soil make the shores of Lake Hawassa in Ethiopia ideal for raising cattle and growing animal feed.

Yet for small-scale farmers near the lake, 300 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, producing a large enough supply of safe milk to consistently earn a profit isn’t easy.

“The biggest challenge ahead is keeping up with farming technology,” said Eskender Yoseph, one of more than three dozen farmers in Ethiopia who gained access to farming technology through a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). “We need a lot of innovation to keep pace and maintain the quality of our farm products.”

Increasing productivity

In 2018, USAID outreach, conducted through its Feed the Future Value Chain Activity (PDF, 1.3MB), found farmers in Hawassa who were willing to train and lead others on how to use new technologies.

In 2021, USAID provided Yoseph’s Anan Dairy farm two portable milking machines. The machines reduce milking time from 10 minutes to three minutes, while ensuring safe and hygienic milk.

The technology helped Yoseph increase productivity, and he trained other farmers in the region on how to use the equipment. USAID later donated milking machines to 31 other farmers in the region.

USAID also provided chopping machines to Yoseph and 38 other farmers in Ethiopia. Yoseph uses the machines to chop alfalfa, the high-protein feed he grows to help optimize his farm’s milk production.

Sharing success

USAID support has helped Yoseph thrive. He employs 55 workers who farm and process dairy and perform administrative tasks, including finance, sales and distribution. Anan Dairy now has 40 milking cows, 20 dry cows, 20 heifers and 25 calves and produces 1,000 liters of milk each day.

Always entrepreneurial, Yoseph began building his own chopping machines, which USAID has purchased to sell to other farmers. Yoseph’s ingenuity has made him a valuable partner in USAID’s efforts to provide technological support to other small-scale farmers in Hawassa.

He trains other young farmers through social media, teaching cattle and feed management, as well as other farming practices. In 2023, Yoseph trained over 70 young farmers from Bahir Dar, Addis Ababa and other nearby cities. Millions of people have viewed his dairy farming videos on YouTube and Telegram.

Yoseph also repurposes cow waste for organic fertilizer and, with the help of a generator, uses captured biogas to power his farm equipment. And he hopes to expand his agricultural business to include selling organic fertilizer to help other farmers increase profits while improving food security in Ethiopia.

“Within 10 kilometers, there are more than 1,000 farmers” in need of fertilizer, Yoseph said. “We want to supply fertilizer for them, in conjunction with USAID.”

Source : Good Man Project