22 October 2014

Ethiopia: USAID Livestock Program Helps Empower Ethiopian Women

Photo: A. Hoel/World Bank
(file photo)
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Washington, DC — As part of the U.S. government's Feed the Future initiative, the U.S. Agency for International Development Agricultural Growth Program-Livestock Market Development project seeks to improve nutrition and boost incomes through training and investments in commodities like dairy, meat, and live animals.

As part of the U.S. government's Feed the Future initiative, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Agricultural Growth Program-Livestock Market Development project seeks to improve nutrition and boost incomes through training and investments in commodities like dairy, meat, and live animals.

The project targets both men and women, with specific interventions to integrate women entrepreneurs into the broader livestock value chain.

"Successful women entrepreneurs serve as role models for other women who see little opportunity to improve their family's income," Yirgalem Gebremeskel, a livestock program specialist with USAID's Economic Growth and Transformation Office in Ethiopia, wrote in a USAID blog post.

One beneficiary is Rut and Hirut Dairy, a milk processing company located in Cha Cha, Amhara, just outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Founder Hirut Yohannes wanted to expand her company's operations but needed guidance. USAID trained her to make higher quality gouda and mozzarella cheese, flavored yogurt, cream cheese, and several other types of cheese, according to Gebremeskel. USAID also helped her introduce packaging for fluid milk products.

"Following support from the project, Rut and Hirut Dairy saw an almost immediate 50 percent increase in sales, which enabled Hirut to increase the volume of milk she purchases from farmers and to increase its sale price by 12 percent per liter," Gebremeskel wrote. "Hirut now provides market access for more farmers in her area and has plans to establish new milk collection centers to further expand her business."

"Extreme poverty is still a serious problem in many parts of Ethiopia. Projects like this, however, are providing sustainable solutions to some of the most intractable issues that Ethiopians face," Gebremeskel wrote.

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