Since 1993, Caritas MADDO has been in partnership with Heifer Project International to boost animal husbandry in an integrated approach.
Very many farmers were trained for over three years but could not qualify to receive heifers. After the three years of intensive trainings, three Heifers were received. After noticing that matters were not moving well we went back to the drawing board to ascertain what could be effected, in order to have more farmers qualifying to receive heifers. Later on we received 24 heifers from UCS Project and more heifers begun to flow in with the aid of Bothar Ireland and USAID.
From this point the project gained momentum and very many farmers showed interest and joined the programme. Projects farmers could train other fellow farmers because they could see the benefits of a heifer in the family. Extension staff would come in to polish up on a few issues that seem to be technical.
Due to the escalating number of farmers joining the programme, project implementers thought it was wise to address the issue of marketing farmers’ milk so that the problem of exploitation by the milk vendors is completely wiped out and this would increase the profit margin from the sale of milk by the farmers. Here the idea of setting up the dairy came up. With the aid from Bothar Ireland and Heifer International, MADDO Heifer Project set up MADDO Diaries. It was launched on 23rd August 2003.
Milk production increased and the original machinery processing only 650 liters per day became inefficient and hence the need to acquire a bigger machinery that could process more milk. With the aid of Bothar Ireland we secured better machinery capable of processing 6000 liters of milk into various products mentioned above per day. In due course, as more milk is being processed, the issue of widening the market of our products arose. Amidst fears of failure to transport our products to the potential consumers, a refrigerated van had to be in place first.
Two Milk Cooling Centres have been set up. One in Kirimya Masaka District with a loan from Bothar Ireland and another in Lwabenge – Bukomansimbi district in partnership with Land O Lakes, Local Government and MADDO. The centres have a capacity of 3000 litres respectively. The programme has of recent in 2010 acquired another refrigerated truck as a grant from the Province of Trento Italy with the capacity of 3500 litres. It transports raw milk from these milk cooling Centres and other farmers from far distant areas to the Dairy.
In the year 2008 May, new machinery and a refrigerated truck were acquired. Now that higher capacity machinery and refrigerated van are in place, our products can be marketed outside Masaka District up to Rakai, Wakiso, and Kampala districts. We cannot also forget the cold room that was also donated to us by Bothar Ireland. This has helped us handle huge volumes of milk to be processed. Project farmers now deliver milk to the dairy and there is higher anticipation that the number will increase, as more Heifers have been extended by Microfinancing Partners in Africa (MPA)
In an offer to extend living loans, MPA continues to finance the Cow project through Caritas MADDO to restore peoples’ livelihoods by supporting dairy farming as a source of nutrition and income. The project also aims at enhancing household food security through improved crop production as a result of farm yard manure application. The project has also embarked on extending loans to farmers to construct Bio-gas fuels, in order to reduce on deforestation and promote an energy saving environment.
The project has distributed over 400 original animals to well-prepared farmers, by end of year 2013.