The 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, it is not easy to produce enough supplies of safe milk to make a consistent profit.
“The biggest challenge ahead is to maintain farming techniques,” said Eskender Yosef, one of more than three dozen farmers in Ethiopia who gained access to farming techniques through a partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Is it.” “We need a lot of innovation to keep pace and maintain the quality of our agricultural products.”
Joseph washes the pipes of an automated milking machine received from USAID. (Zacharias Abubaker/USAID)
In 2018, USAID Outreach through its Feed the Future Value Chain activity (PDF, 1.3 MB) found farmers in Hawassa who were willing to train and lead others on how to use new technologies.
In 2021, USAID provided two portable milking machines to Yosef’s Anan Dairy Farm. The machines reduce milking time from 10 minutes to three minutes, ensuring safe and clean milk.
The technology helped Joseph increase productivity, and he trained other farmers in the area on how to use the equipment. USAID later donated milking machines to 31 other farmers in the area.
This chopping machine, donated by USAID, makes feed easier to digest and reduces feed wastage. Joseph makes similar machines to sell to other farmers. (Zacharias Abubaker/USAID)
USAID also provided chopping machines to Yosef and 38 other farmers in Ethiopia. Joseph uses machines to cut alfalfa, the high-protein forage he grows to help optimize his farm’s milk production.
USAID support has helped Yosef move forward. They employ 55 staff who farm and process the dairy and perform administrative functions including finance, sales and distribution. Anan Dairy now has 40 milk cows, 20 dry cows, 20 heifers and 25 calves and produces 1,000 liters of milk every day.
Always entrepreneurial, Yusuf began building his own chopping machines, which USAID purchased to sell to other farmers. Joseph’s ingenuity has made him a valuable partner in USAID’s efforts to provide technical assistance to other small-scale farmers in Hawassa.
USAID is bringing new technologies to dairy farms in Ethiopia. Above, a farmworker prepares to deliver milk for processing. (Zacharias Abubaker/USAID)
He trains other young farmers through social media, teaching cattle and feed management as well as other farming practices. In 2023, Yosef trained more than 70 young farmers from Bahir Dar, Addis Ababa and other nearby cities. His dairy farming videos have been viewed by millions of people on YouTube and Telegram.
Yusuf also uses cow waste as organic fertilizer and uses the captured biogas to power his farming equipment, with the help of a generator. And he hopes to expand his farming business, including selling organic fertilizers, to help other farmers increase profits while improving food security in Ethiopia.
“Within 10 kilometres, more than 1,000 farmers need fertiliser,” Yousuf said. “We want to work with USAID to supply fertilizer for them.”
A version of this article was published by USAID. Read the full USAID version here.