Burkina mini-dairies strengthen their organisation
The National Union of mini-dairies and fresh milk producers held their national conference on August 26th in Ouagadougou. The 22 affiliated dairy members were present. The conference was an opportunity for them to strengthen the organisation and to plan new training seminars.
During the meeting the executive committee put forward an interesting document, setting out a number of activities organised around 6 objectives.
The document proposes issuing a news bulletin as a means of improved internal communication, to be launched in the next few months. Most dairies already have a mobile phone and it was suggested that they form a pool, in order to facilitate communication further. They were also encouraged to provide an e-mail address, in case this had not yet been done.
The conference recognised the necessity to start training courses in areas such as mowing techniques and stocking of fodder. Stock-keepers who deliver milk to the dairies need to learn how to produce animal feed of good quality and in sufficient quantity to feed milch cows all through the dry season, so that dairies can ensure their customers year round availability of milk. Therefore several courses are already being planned across the country, running from September 15th to October 10th. In addition, a study tour in the Sahel will take some stock-keepers to the town of Dori to meet their counterparts, who keep the Azawak and Goudali zebu breeds and are already well familiar with mowing and stocking techniques to supply fodder for their animals all around the year.
The setting up of a purchasing pool which would enable dairies and stock-keepers to buy processing equipment or animal feed at a lower price.
Some members went even further and asked if it would not be a good idea to set up a small industrial plant for the production of packaging material for the dairies, such as jars or bags. They would thus be able to circumvent the monopoly of FASOPLAST. The prices practised by the company take a heavy toll on the cash assets of mini-dairies.
Others suggested the setting up of friendly societies/clubs for the genetic enhancement of livestock. Rather than increasing the size of their herds, cattle owners could turn to breeds of higher performance, such as the Azawak and Goudalis zebus. Cattle herders delivering milk to the same dairy plant could for example form such a society. They could start by selling a few zebu cows from Fulani communities for an amount of about 500 000 CFA francs, to be handed over to the dairy, which would then add a further 500 000 (if necessary with the support of the National Union). This would pay for taking in a bull and a few Goudali or Azawak heifers. The society would start paying back the amount as soon as the stock-keepers are able to raise the milk production, or even before, when possible.
A number of other proposals for action were tabled, but for the time being I believe the ones mentioned above suffice to show the vitality of the National Union. We wish them fair wind on the way ahead.
Koudougou September 4th, 2008