Background and intervention
This programme was launched in 1999 with the help of a UNDP grant of USD 3.0 million, to provide additional income to the beneficiaries of an existing project that had not succeeded in boosting incomes above the poverty line of USD 318 per year.
The dairy programme has adopted a ‘total livestock development’ approach that includes coordinated delivery of services (finance for livestock purchases, training of farmers on livestock husbandry, provision of feed, animal health care by qualified veterinarians, milk collection and chilling, pasteurizing, packaging, sale to commercial processors and cattle insurance). The Grameen Fisheries and Livestock Foundation (GFLF) has fostered groups of dairy farmers (mostly women) who meet bi-weekly to repay their loans. Loans are provided for three years at a 10% annual rate of interest. The total loan amount includes USD 18 for shed construction/repair and USD 18 for feed. Part of the loan (5%) is withheld to cover insurance (3%) and a deposit (2%) to the livestock development fund. GFLF also trains all members in dairy management, assists them in buying cows (GFLF staff are present at the time of purchase), offers an artificial insemination service, and runs a network of animal health care centres.
Assistance to beneficiaries includes de-worming, vaccination, clinical health care, and post-mortem certificates (for insurance claims) free of charge. The 3% withheld for insurance covers up to 80% of the purchase cost of a cow and claims are settled within a week; farmers are obliged to replace the deceased cow. Improved management and disease control has reduced the livestock mortality rate from 5% in 1999 to 0.5% in 2007. In collaboration with group members, GFLF has set up milk collection centres and chilling plants (70% owned by members) and signed sales contracts with several milk processing companies (Milk Vita, Bikrampur dairy and others). Members are paid on a weekly basis. The product flow can be seen in Figure 1.