A new school milk programme was launched in Burundi with the objective of contributing to the positive health of children, school attendance, and local dairy development. The programme is now reaching 37,000 children in central Burundi and has improved milk production by 43 per cent, with 3,000 new jobs created in rural areas.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), only 28 per cent of the population is food-secure in Burundi and as many as 58 per cent are chronically malnourished. Children affected by undernourishment are more likely to perform poorly at school, drop out of classes and have poor health later in life. The sustainable model of locally sourcing food is still in the early stages of development. Tough conditions for smallholder farmers have made it difficult for them to be competitive in delivering enough quantities to supply the local demand for milk.
A new school milk programme was started with the objective of contributing to the positive health of children, school attendance, and local agriculture development.
The EU is providing funding of € 5 million for WFP to purchase up to one-third of the required food commodities from local smallholders in the Gitega province. The school milk programme is now reaching 37,000 children in central Burundi, partly byproviding fresh milk in Tetra Fino® Aseptic 200ml packages from the newly founded local company, Modern Dairy Burundi.
“We are very pleased with our co-operation with Tetra Pak and Food for Development, which has helped us achieve our mission of providing safe and high-quality UHT milk to the school children in Burundi,” says Juma Mohamed, CEO of Modern Dairy Burundi.
The school milk programme in Burundi has served as a catalyst for local dairy development. The European Union and IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) are now working with Modern Dairy to support 12 farmer co-operatives. The milk production has increased 43 per cent from 840,000 litres to 1.2 million litres in 2018. According to IFAD, the farmer revenue increased from USD 400 to 650 per year and now they have access to loans. The dairy development initiative is creating 3,000 new jobs in rural areas. The next step is to further develop the capacity of local stakeholders with technical assistance to scale up the programme and promote long-term sustainability.