Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How One Cow Can Change A Life

In Kenya, women are the backbones of the country. They feed the continent and keep hunger at bay through their enormous participation in the agriculture economy.

In Nakuru, a dairy farmer has managed to provide a living for herself as well as create enough work to employ others. She owns a small dairy farm and is contributing to food security in her community as well as food production. Her name is Teresia Riungu, and through her hard work, ingenuity and overall spunk, she has created an enterprise that has not only changed her life, but the lives of those around her as well.

Teresia was able to create a dairy farm with the help of USAID as part of the five year Kenya Dairy Sector Competitiveness Program implemented by Land O'Lakes.

Teresia was trained in ways to increase her milk supply, better ways to feed her cows, improve breeding and market her milk through this program.

Today her dairy farm is able to produce 35-40 liters of milk per day and supplies cash flow to her on a daily basis. She earns a total of $370 per month. Although this may seem miniscule to US standards, this is far above the one dollar a day that most Kenyans earn.

Similar dairy collectives can be found all over Africa. They work because farmers are able to earn greater incomes by bulking their milk instead of selling it individually. Through the collective the farmers are also able to receive training on breeding and feeding the cows.

Teresia is living proof that these types of programs work. Teresia has earned enough to open her own bank account and no longer has to rely strictly on her husband as a source of income.

Daily Action: Right now, 10 million people in the Horn of Africa are desperately in need of food, clean water and basic sanitation. As the bloggers meet with women farmers today, please sign the ONE petition calling on world leaders to urgently provide full funding to help people in the Horn of Africa, who are suffering from the worst drought in 60 years.

-Gabrielle Gurian