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Rural to dairy entrepreneur with climate smart interventions

South African dairy farming is one of the largest agricultural industries in the country, employing more than 40 000 people. Large farms account for 80% of the total milk production in South Africa. Rising costs, and consumer preference changes and competition from international companies have created many challenges especially for the small producers. While the number of producers has declined over the past years the volume of milk has increased indicating that the larger producers have larger herds.

Consumers have had an influence on the industry with an increased demand for plant based products. Lactose intolerant, lower sugar and gut health have driven innovation in the dairy industry with probiotics and low sugar options. The pandemic has had an impact on products such as cheese due to the hospitality industry being in lockdown however this was offset by the increased sales of longer shelf life UHT milk because consumers could stock up without having to go out often to get fresh supplies. The disruptions did impact the smaller suppliers as they were unable to get their milk to market.

Starting a dairy farm is more than just owning a few dairy cows and milking them twice a day. Most of dairy farming in the rest of Africa consists of small holder farmers.

Studies are being conducted in Tanzania and Ethiopia to assist farmers to become part of the value chain and at the same time reduce carbon emissions by increasing dairy production. Agriculture is responsible for a quarter of GHG (greenhouse gasses) emissions and of that approximately 4% is from milk production.

Management practices enable growth

Dairy hubs will enable rural farmers to commercialise their milk by having collection and testing services. Climate smart interventions can help with these challenges through efficiency practices this will increase milk production with more cows and higher output per cow. Monitoring and farm management practices are essential with a focus on the use of land, water and feed so that the dairy farmers are able to grow their businesses. The systems for Climate Smart dairy farming will reduce GHG per litre and therefore help towards reducing GHG created from dairy farming.

These hubs will encourage impact investors to participate as all of the regulatory aspects of dairy farming will be part of the value chain assuring that the end product is safe and that there will be room to scale. This will benefit all along the value chain and will aid the consumer in receiving a better quality of milk and at the same time being kind to the environment.

Calls for beneficiaries, sponsors and buyers

Are you a startup agribusiness? Are you a smallholder farmer? Do you need support to take your business to the next level? View the AAC Market Support Programme website for more information. Share your story and apply, contact Debbie Payne at email deborah.payne@agricouncil.org.

The AAC and its sponsors will contribute directly to the development of 10 million agribusinesses in Africa over the next 10 years. Support our mission by sponsoring MSP beneficiaries. Email Manuel Singano at manuel.singano@agricouncil.org.

The AAC is working with local, regional and international buyers to understand their specific requirements regarding products, labelling, certifications etc, and use this information to guide our beneficiaries in their production processes and product development. Contact Debbie Payne at deborah.payne@agricouncil.org to join our Buyer’s Network.

About the African Agri Council NPC (AAC)

The African Agri Council NPC (AAC) is a non profit pan African institution that promotes the development of sustainable food and agriculture in Africa. We are a network of key stakeholders connected to Africa’s entire food and agriculture business value chain.

We work with governments, investors and project owners and developers to accelerate investment into bankable agricultural projects, and bring together food and agriculture buyers and sellers and with a focus on attaining and improving access to regional and international markets.

Our networking platforms bring together thousands of members, partners, government representatives, investors, consultants, technology providers, retailers, farmers, aggregators and traders to connect, share knowledge and together help grow Africa’s agricultural sector. For more information visit www.agricouncil.org.

We run four annual events including virtual events. These range in size from 400 to 950 participants. Our African Agri Investment Indaba (AAII) held in Cape Town is now Africa's largest agribusiness and investment conference. The Investment Food Forum (IFF), Market Access Africa (MAA) and AFTI Summit have attracted a lot of interest from various stakeholders and partners. As a member, you will receive a discount off the registration fees of our events. Visit www.agricouncil.org to see our upcoming event dates and become a member.

For more information get in touch with Cindy Euston-Brown via email cindy.eustonbrown@agricouncil.org or go to www.agricouncil.org.