School milk programme in Kenya increases school enrolment

Food security and nutrition are key challenges in Kenya. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), stunted growth caused by malnutrition affects 29 per cent of children in rural areas and 20 per cent of children in cities. According to UNESCO, school enrolment rates still remain a challenge at 75 per cent, although they have showed improvement in recent years.

School milk programmes around the world have demonstrated to improve school attendance, nutrition, and support the local dairy value chain. Learning from success stories from around the world, local county governments worked in collaboration with the Kenya Dairy Board and local dairy processors to initiate school milk programmes at 1,767 schools in seven counties.

The objectives were to address malnutrition, school enrolment rates, and provide farmers with access to market for their milk. One important initiative involved measuring the impact of the school milk programme to validate progress.

Another important action was to source milk from smallholder farmers and provide technical assistance and training. Tetra Pak and Tetra Laval Food for Development are supporting customers by providing training to the smallholder farmers that supply milk.

The measured data is showing significant results. For example, schools that have a school milk programme have shown an increase in school enrolment of up to 55 per cent in Nairobi County compared to schools without a programme. In Meru County the average enrolment increased by 20 per cent, in Mombasa County by 25 per cent and in Embu County by 14 per cent.

Technical assistance programme drives positive developments for the Ugandan dairy sector

Uganda’s dairy sector plays a very important role – both in the economic development and as a source of nutrition in the country. Although the dairy industry has maintained an average positive growth rate of 3 per cent per year, the sector faces various challenges. Through the Pearl Dairy Farmers’ Community (PDFC) initiative, a technical assistance programme was set up for the dairy farming community in the South West Region of Uganda to improve productivity, share best practice and scale-up milk production. Among other things, milk production has increased by nearly 78 per cent per farm on average, thanks to the programme.

Despite its importance, the Uganda’s dairy sector struggles with a number of problems. Only 33 per cent of the country’s milk output is processed, while the remaining 67 per cent is not formally collected and much is lost. Besides the lack of processed milk, the average productivity per cow is low at only around 4 litres per day. According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations), 95 per cent of the milk production comes from smallholder farmers living in impoverished rural areas, and 41 per cent of the population is undernourished.

Growing programme benefits dairy farming

The Pearl Dairy Farmers’ Community (PDFC) is an initiative led by Pearl Dairy Farms, Ltd. (a leading dairy processor based in Mbarara, Uganda), in collaboration with the IFC (International Finance Corporation), Bles Dairies, VetEffect, SNV (Foundation of Netherlands Volunteers), Tetra Pak, and Tetra Laval Food for Development. The PDFC initiative has been steadily expanding its technical assistance programme to benefit the dairy farming community in the South West Region of Uganda.

The programme aims to achieve the following objectives:

Establishment of a professional extension services team that trains dairy farmers on best practices in farm management – focusing on productivity and milk quality improvement.

Improve the productivity of the initial 1,000 farms by at least 30 per cent.

Scale-up the programme long-term through an outreach campaign targeting 5,000 smallholder farmers.

Increased productivity, improved livelihoods and new jobs

Through the programme, the lead farms are continuing to show positive improvements. Overall, milk production shows an average increase of nearly 78 per cent per farm. The increase is due to the technical assistance provided by the project team on proper feed, nutrition and animal husbandry. The project has helped to create 150 new direct jobs and improved the livelihoods of more than 1,000 farmers, and plans to scale-up to benefit 5,000 smallholder farmers.

“We are honoured to have Food for Development’s technical support, offered as practical hands-on training to the dairy farmers. Their vast knowledge in dairy farming is a valuable resource for the farmers,” says Amit Sagar, CEO, Pearl Dairy Farms, Ltd.

School milk programme launched to improve food security in Sri Lanka

According to the World Food Programme, Sri Lanka has levels of acute malnutrition – ranging between 14 and 35 per cent. According to Ministry of Agriculture in Sri Lanka, less than 40 per cent of the milk demand is produced locally, and the yields per cow are low. To address these challenges, the Government launched a school milk programme in 2019, with the objectives of providing locally sourced quality nutrition and boosting milk production. It is initially covering 400,000 children, and Tetra Pak is already supplying Tetra Fino® Aseptic 150ml packages for milk to 185,000 school children.

Malnutrition is considered to be an obstacle for socio-economic development in Sri Lanka, which has a growing population of 21 million. However, malnutrition can be combatted by increasing the local milk production, with low yields per cow being at less than 2 litres per day.

100 per cent locally produced UHT milk

To cope with these challenges, the Government of Sri Lanka launched a school milk programme initially covering 400,000 children from 950 schools and is using 100 per cent locally produced UHT milk. It is fully funded by the Government and implemented by the Ministry of Education.

“Our customer Cargills Ceylon started supplying milk in Tetra Fino® Aseptic 150ml packages to 185,000 school children in 400 schools,” says Ashutosh Manohar, Managing Director Tetra Pak South Asia Markets.

Technical assistance ensures good support

Tetra Pak South Asia and the Tetra Laval Food for Development team supported Cargills Ceylon and the Ministry of Education by providing technical assistance and sharing best practices used in school feeding programmes around the world.

As part of the technical assistance support, essential training was provided to the customer and the Ministry of Education’s implementation team on proper food safety protocols, environmental education and recycling. Tetra Pak has also identified and engaged a local partner to collect and recycle the used carton packages from schools.

400 schools participating in environmental education workshops

“This is a unique programme that balances two important priorities of Tetra Pak – food safety & access and sustainability. Children from the 400 participating schools now have access to quality nutrition and are also learning about their environmental responsibility, making sure that used carton packages are recycled,” said Ashutosh Manohar.

The school milk programme has the common objective of providing locally sourced quality nutrition and boosting milk production. The Ministry of Education is measuring nutritional indicators among children such as height, weight and how the improved attendance can eventually benefit learning.

“As a long-term objective, we look forward to continuing to provide technical assistance and training to the farmers working through our Dairy Hub model to improve the milk production,” concludes Rafael Fabrega, Director Tetra Laval Food for Development.