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USDA-Land O’Lakes Partnership Helps Rebuild Dairy Herds, Raise Farmers’ Incomes in Mozambique

Sabado Josè Maria, a former crop farmer in Mozambique, has more than doubled his income thanks to support and training he received in a USDA-funded Land O’Lakes dairy project.

Sabado Josè Maria, a former crop farmer in Mozambique, has more than doubled his income thanks to support and training he received in a USDA-funded Land O’Lakes dairy project.

A partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Land O’Lakes International Development has helped revive a Mozambique dairy farming tradition and raised small-scale farmers’ monthly incomes by an average of 225 percent.

Land O’Lakes, with the help of USDA’s Food for Progress (FFPr) Program, set out to rebuild the dairy herd and create a sustainable dairy value chain in the Manica Province. The province had historically been one of Mozambique’s best areas for livestock farming due to its climate and access to multiple markets. However, the cattle population in the province and country declined significantly during Mozambique’s 15-year war. As a result, Mozambique began importing 90 percent of its dairy product needs. In addition, farmers replaced livestock production with small-scale crop production, which did not provide a consistent source of income.

USDA provided Land O’Lakes with U.S. wheat, which they then sold, or monetized, in Mozambique. Land O’Lakes used the $4 million in proceeds to distribute 398 dairy cows to 265 farmers over a three-year period beginning in 2009. The Land O’Lakes project provided training in feed and fodder techniques, pasture management, milk collection and marketing, and animal husbandry. It also showed farmers how to increase productivity by using the cattle to cultivate crops; set up three milk collection, processing, and distribution centers; and helped establish 11 registered dairy associations and three registered dairy cooperatives.

The results are impressive. Farmers who once earned an average of $37 per month from crop farming are now earning an average of $106 per month from dairy farming. The most successful dairy farmers have tripled their net income to $190 per month. Milk production has increased from zero to an average of 32,000 liters per month or more than 11 liters per cow per day. Farms using cattle to cultivate crops have increased production by more than 7 percent. The number of people directly and indirectly benefiting from this project totaled nearly 347,000 as of December 2011.

“The provincial government has been proud to host the Land O’Lakes dairy project,” said Oliveira Amimo, director of Manica Province’s Department of Agriculture. “It has not only stimulated our province’s past tradition, but has also created jobs and incomes. We hope the dairy project will continue to enhance long-term sustainability and expand to other districts in the province.”

With the provincial government’s recent approval of a strategic plan to make agricultural development and higher herd levels a priority, Director Amimo’s hopes may soon become a reality.

USDA’s FFPr Program donates U.S. commodities to government agencies and PVOs, which sell the commodities in targeted developing countries and emerging democracies. The funds are used to introduce and expand free enterprise in the agricultural sector.

For more information about FFPr, go to

5 Responses to “USDA-Land O’Lakes Partnership Helps Rebuild Dairy Herds, Raise Farmers’ Incomes in Mozambique”

  1. G Moses says:

    Very interesting example of the FFPr program in action. I would be very interested in learning more about other projects in the program! Which other companies are interested in farmer productivity or similar projects?

  2. Angie says:

    This is a fantastic plan and I think the corporations of America should help spread their wealth and technological nohow to others. Many countries could really benefit from the distribution of new equipment,animals and strategies.Of course many people in Africa have never received agricultural training so this is critical.Look at how some new awareness boosts their production 200% +,It is really very amazing and it gives hope to all in that region.When these companies begin to spread awareness it can also be used to boost their own businesses back home.This can be used as a write off for potential marketing purposes as well. Everyone love to see a company doing good for those less fortunate.

    I would also like to know if Land O Lakes has begun any more projects like this one in other neighboring areas. If so how much do they spend yearly? Nice article!

  3. Sepo Mbanga says:

    “Farmers who once earned an average of $37 per month from crop farming are now earning an average of $106 per month from dairy farming”

    This is not an income that anyone in sub sahara africa can survive on, and we should not think this is a great achievement. would US farmers be happy with $106 month ? NO so why should we think an Africa farmer should. They still can not probably afford to send their kids to school, electricity, a tractor, and basics that we take for granted. As long as the USA and other countries (china) flood Africa with cheap commodities and goods African farmers will remain poor. Right now Chinese farmers are buying up large tracts of land in countries like Zambia and displacing farmers like these.

  4. paula says:

    The average annual income for Mozambique in 2011 was $1100.00. While obviously there is plenty of room for imporvement, these dairy farmers are now at higher than the national average for their contry.

    Chances are very good their kids are in school:

    “Today, 83 per cent of the children are enrolled in primary school, up from 32 per cent in 1992. The number of primary and secondary schools has tripled and 3,500 new teachers have been recruited every year since 1992. School fees were abolished in 2004, and a programme of direct support to schools has been introduced.”

    A much more pertinent question is about the QUALITY of that education, and that was never intended to be addressed by the program under discussion. Creating a class of more economically secure parents well might contribute to an increased political will to improve the system.

    BTW, I am sure that electricity would be helpful, but tractors? Tractors on small holding would be prohibitively inefficient, so that is not a fair marker of success or failure of a program.

  5. Almeida Zacarias says:

    While it’s true that an American farmer cannot be satisfied with $106 per month, it’s also true that shifting from $37 to $106 per month is a big deal. In Mozambique $100 is more than the minimum salary at public service. If a peasant can earn that in just one month, it’s big deal. We also need to take into account that American agriculture is far forward from our African. While our leaders in Africa are still reluctant to approve Biotech, just as an example, American farmers have been using this technology for many years. Let’s make fair comparisons. I’m delighted that Land O’Lakes is implementing this small (but great!) project. Let me tell you that additional grant was just approved for more three years to expand the project to other areas…Great job. Thank you Paula for the comment.

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