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From the Global Dairy Platform: Why Dairy Nourishes Africa
Dairy Nourishes Africa is a unique form of public-private partnership that leverages the power of dairy to help provide sustainable solutions for nutrition, employment, and other global issues. On World Milk Day, learn how to get involved.

This post was prepared by the Global Dairy Platform. 

Dairy Nourishes Africa (DNA) is a new, unique form of public-private partnership that leverages the power of dairy to help provide solutions to critical issues facing the world. Already underway, DNA is transforming African dairy value chains to:   

  • Improve nutrition standards by reducing malnutrition, stunting, and wasting.
  • Strengthen economic conditions by creating financially sustainable business models that help local champions develop and grow across the entire value chain.
  • Enhance societal outcomes through better education results, expanded youth employment, and accelerated women empowerment.
  • Advance environmental conditions by applying expertise, education, and on-the-ground training to produce more while using less.

DNA was established in 2019 by the world’s leading commercial dairy companies. Working together pre-competitively through Global Dairy Platform, these companies are providing sector expertise, on-the-ground resources, and direct funding. Bain & Company, which provides world class, in-market consultancy support built around their Farmer Allied Intermediary model, is a key partner. The initiative is executed by Land O’Lakes Venture37, which has a decades-long history of delivering dairy development projects across East Africa. And DNA is aligned and coordinated with governments, NGOs, donors, and local stakeholders to deliver the scale, long-term commitment, policy reinforcement and funding necessary to deliver transformational change to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Collectively, $10 million has been committed to DNA so far. 

Why Dairy?   

There are very few sectors with the size and scope of dairy. One billion people’s livelihoods depend on dairy. There are 130 million (mostly smallholder) dairy farms, nearly 40 million of which are owned by women. Dairy is the world’s most valuable agricultural commodity group, generating US$700 billion annually while delivering high-quality nutrition via short supply chains to 6 billion consumers.

It is an industry that has a long history of delivering societal benefits including reducing hunger and poverty. It is a diverse and resilient economic model that often serves as the cornerstone for other agricultural systems.  
Dairy is committed to improving its sustainability performance. Nearly 50% of the world’s formal milk production measures and reports sustainability progress across 11 different criteria using the Dairy Sustainability Framework. And the global sector is working with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on a first-of-its-kind environmental initiative, Net Zero, Pathways to Low-Carbon Dairy.

Why East Africa? 

GDP chose to go where the need is greatest and where dairy can realistically address those needs. East Africa – Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda – all face unique challenges. But there are common nutritional, economic, societal, and environmental problems that dairy can help solve. East Africa has the land and climate to support dairy farming, farmers who are familiar with managing cattle, consumers and governments who understand the value of dairy in the diet, and underdeveloped dairy value chains that can be dramatically improved. 

Results-to-date are proving DNA’s ability to deliver on the promise of dairy to create solutions.  Many development programs previously focused either on the supply side by trying to increase milk production, or on the demand side with short-term initiatives including school milk programs. DNA employs the Farmer Allied Intermediary approach to create long-term, sustainable, holistic value chains to ensure farmers have a market for their milk and that short-term demand programs create long-term markets. The focus is not simply to help to save farmers and processors but to prepare them to grow into regional and national champions.

How can I engage? 

DNA is a worthy charitable cause and you can simply elect to donate to support the work program. DNA may support your brand or corporate values, which can lead to direct funding and in-kind resources. These resources don’t have to be traditional “dairy” resources. DNA is building modern food value chains that support local, smallholder farmers by employing technology. We require information, education, data, and logistics skills as examples. DNA is a way of engaging your staff in work that supports their personal values, which is consistent with a purpose-driven culture.  

DNA offers a way of engaging in the market in a low-risk manner. This is true public-private partnership and we understand that business will need to see a future in order to invest in the market. We welcome participants who take a very clear business development approach to DNA engagement.   

The Time is Now 

The challenges facing the world and the challenges facing East Africa are only going to get larger and more complicated. However you'd like to get involved, there's a place for you in helping us drive transformation and help address critical issues facing the world. Let’s combine our knowledge, experience, and resources to be part of a solution that creates a better, purpose-driven future for the people of East Africa. Today.

To learn more, please contact Jay Waldvogel: DNA@GlobalDairyPlatform.com
 
By The Global Dairy Platform 06/01/2021