In 2010 CARD-F identified the dairy value chain as a major area for development with a huge potential that could significantly contribute towards the economic development of Afghanistan. In order to give this value chain a kick-start and to create a generic model that can be easily replicated in other locations, CARD-F started from Balkh district of Balkh province, where different elements of the dairy value chain potentially existed, but lack of effective channels for milk collection and distribution had paralyzed the whole chain.
To enable this value chain CARD-F identified lack of efficiency in the following areas:
Standard Animal Feed
CARD-F identified feed as the main element for improving the health of cattle and its milk productivity. In order to tackle this issue CARD-F introduced standardized feed for the cattle such as alfalfa.In addition to introducing the farmers to the standardized feed, CARD-F also trained them in feed production by establishing demonstration and seed-multiplication plots. In pursuance to making this process efficient and sustainable, CARD-F is training a group of lead farmers, who then have to carry out the same training session for his co-farmers under CARD-F’s close supervision. This initiative will generate an everlasting impact on the dairy value chain. On one hand the farmers learn the process very well themselves, and on the other hand they will continue training other farmers, even after CARD-F stop supporting them.
The aforementioned training includes land preparation, sowing, planting, irrigation, weeding, integrated pest and disease management, fertilizer application and best practices in harvest and post-harvest management. The aforementioned trainings are will result in better and more raw-feed for the cattle. Latter these raw materials are processed to produce feed for the cattle.
To ensure and maintain animal health in rural villages of Balkh district, CARD-F established two Veterinary Clinics in two strategic locations in Balkh district. These clinics were staffed by professional veterinary field units who were responsible to provide veterinary services to the target beneficiaries, to maintain the highest level of health for the milk producing cattle. These veterinary field units are responsible to travel to rural villages on routine and provide medical services and vaccines to the cattle. In addition, to ensure the appropriate measures are taken in the process of milk collection, CARD-F has distributed milk hygiene kits to female farmers, who are mainly responsible for milking cows, and provided them with practical training on maintaining milk-hygiene. In addition, CARD-F has trained these farmers in rural villages in effective livestock management in order to improve their skills in livestock management and to ensure the good quality of milk.
Milk Collection Centers
While focusing on the dairy value chain in the Balkh district of Balkh province, CARD-F realized that a major challenge in enabling the dairy value chain is inexistence of proper channels for milk collection, which caused a lot of inefficiency within the system. In order to address this challenge CARD-F constructed five different milk collection centers in five strategic points within the district that could potentially cover the whole Balkh district while people could easily access them. The cumulative capacity of these milk collection centers are 15,000 liters/day.
In addition to the milk collection facility these buildings (milk collection centers) are equipped with milk-testing equipment. As soon as the milk is brought-in, it is tested for its quality and to ensure that the milk is free of any kind of harmful bacteria. Furthermore, in order to ease the process of milk collection CARD-F asphalted 6.1 Kilometers of road between Balkh district and Mazar-e Sharif city and bought a refrigerated truck on cost-sharing basis, to provide on-time transportation of the milk to the dairy processing plant.
Dairy Processing Plant
This value chain would not have been complete without a dairy processing plant. CARD-F identified Pakiza Dairy Processing Company as a potential dairy processor with the required capacity and commitment to serve the local communities of Balkh district. Pakiza can process 3,000 liters of milk on any given day into seven different dairy products: yoghurt, cream-cheese, butter, cream, dough, milk-chocolate, and Chakka (condensed yogurt). In addition to processing the dairy products, Pakiza also package and labels different products into standardized packages. In order to create an effective distribution channel CARD-F is sharing cost with Pakiza to buy refrigerated vehicles, to efficiently transport the dairy products to the targeted markets. In addition, CARD-F also established ten window shops on cost sharing basis, to further support Pakiza’s products. Pakiza Dairy Processing Company has recently acquired the International Standard Organization Certificate (ISO), which will give Pakiza a competitive advantage over other dairy processing companies and imported dairy products in the marketplace. This certificate has opened new doors for Pakiza in the national and international markets. Therefore, CARD-F is looking forward to further support this company to increase its processing capacity from 3,000 liters/day to 6,000 litters/day in the next year in order to enable it to reach additional markets.