Heifer International

Heifer International aims to transform the rural dairy value chain through the Solar for Sustainable Income in Dairy (SSID) project in Uganda.

The dairy sector is one of the fastest growing agricultural sub-sectors across Africa and it has the scope to provide a regular source of income for millions of low-income rural households in Africa. However, chilling process is an energy-intensive operation and most milk collection centres in sub-Saharan Africa suffer from unreliable electricity or no access to electricity. The African continent contributes to less than 8% of the global milk output and to just 0.2% of the global trade in dairy products (FAO). And despite a sizable cattle population, many African countries rely on milk and dairy imports to satisfy domestic needs. While factors such as poor herd management, sub-standard feed availability and small-scale of operations contribute to poor productivity, the lack of rural chilling infrastructure is responsible for most post-harvest losses.

The Solar for Sustainable Income in Dairy project will bring together solar technology companies, impact investors, capacity builders, project financiers, dairy cooperatives and dairy processors to implement and demonstrate the impact of the productive use energy in the dairy sector by introducing solar-powered milk chilling at 5 dairy producer organisations in Uganda. The project’s ultimate objective will be to increase the capacity utilisation of the dairy processor by enabling the Producer Organisations (or dairy cooperatives) to overcome the financing and technology barriers in adopting productive use of energy technologies for reducing the post-harvest losses in dairy value chain.

This PREO-funded project will involve JESA dairy, one of Uganda’s largest premium dairy products producers. Project implementation will be led and managed by Heifer International, who have a proven track record of success in Uganda, having established more than 79 dairy cooperatives in the last 12 years. Shared Wealth Ventures, the impact capital arm of Heifer International, is the financing partner and will enable reliable chilling to the dairy cooperatives through innovative financing structures such as Power Purchase Agreement and asset leasing.

The two-year project, which will be implemented in the Kiboga, Kyankwanzi and other districts of the central and southwestern Ugandan milk shed, is expected to increase both procured, bulked, chilled and sold milk. As such, it will help boost the incomes of the dairy farmers within the 5 cooperatives. The project is also expected to reduce the energy costs for dairy cooperatives by limiting the usage of diesel and embracing renewable energy, which will also result in a reduction in their carbon footprint.

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