Women Champion Livestock Production
Rural women often take lead, though underappreciated, roles in household agricultural activities. To acknowledge their work and inspire other women in livestock production, the Feed the Future Zimbabwe Livestock Development program dedicated March 2019 to highlighting female beneficiaries’ successes.
Celebrated in conjunction with the International Women’s Day 2019 theme #BalanceforBetter, the program hosted six technical days across all districts during which female farmers shared their stories with fellow farmers, government representatives, and private sector stakeholders.
In Chirumhanzu, Midlands, village milk aggregator Sarah Ndodha shared her story with 33 participants, 64 percent women, on how the aggregation model is changing her life one liter of milk at a time. Ndodha is collecting 510 liters of milk per month on average from seven producers and selling to local processers, earning her $510 monthly.
“The [Feed the Future Zimbabwe Livestock Development] program showed me how to earn a second income through milk aggregation,” Ndodha said. “I am now able to pay school fees for my son, buy different types of food in bulk, and veterinary drugs and feed for my animals.”
In addition, Ndodha now has three cattle (each valued at $3,000) thanks to adopting good animal husbandry practices that qualified her for a government-funded heifer loan scheme.
Similarly, in Gokwe South, Midlands, village milk aggregator Siyengiwe Machina, who invested $1,630 in a gas chiller last year, is celebrated within her community for bridging the market gap. Machina has aggregated 876 liters from six local suppliers from January to March 2019, generating $878. Her suppliers, who are mostly female and new to dairy farming, are excited about the opportunity to access a formal market.
“Our greatest achievement is the formation of this dairy producer group and access to a reliable market. We can now increase our milk production knowing there is demand and we can earn income from milk,” said one of Machina’s suppliers, Tendai Shoko.
Mediline Magutshwa from Umzingwane, Matabeleland South is also earning a steady income thanks to the village milk aggregation model. A top producer delivering 5 liters per day from her two beef cows to village milk aggregator Dzingirai Juwere, Magutshwa has adopted good livestock practices in dairy production including animal health, fodder production, feeding regimes, and low-cost feed formulations to increase milk production.
By encouraging women to partake in technical livestock issues and increase overall farm productivity, families working with the Feed the Future Zimbabwe Livestock Development program are more resilient, earn increased incomes, are food secure, and are improving their household nutritional statuses.
Of the 6,949 individual farmers the program has worked with during the since inception, 46 percent are women. Trends of incomes earned by women continue to increase since program inception from a baseline of $290 to $1,048 in FY2018.