A partnership between Granarolo, Cefa and livestock farmers in the Njombe district of Tanzania has spawned the creation of Njombe Milk Factory, a company spanning the entire supply chain that also promotes milk drinking in schools, becoming an economic bedrock and drawing attention to food safety.
For the past seven years or more, 800 livestock farmers have brought over 3000 litres of milk to the factory every day. The factory's workers have become specialised in the production chain and are paid a stable wage every 15 days. This programme was developed in several stages. First and foremost, its greatest innovation is the introduction of pasteurisation, which was not previously part of the production process; quality levels were therefore not as high in the past and bacteria was an ever-present menace. In addition, the low pricing policy has discouraged consumers from buying powdered or imported milk, which is available in the country but not within everyone's budget.
NMF has successfully created a "Milk in Schools" initiative that sells milk in 58 local schools once a week at reduced price, subsidised by a portion of the company's profits. This ensures access to a product that is essential for the growth of 25,000 children. The company uses leftover milk to produce yoghurt as well as caciotta, mozzarella and provolone cheeses. Whey, a by-product of cheese production, is also used to make ricotta, or is skimmed and given away as pig feed.
According to research by Roma Tre University, the income of the 800 livestock farmers has soared by 140% in three years. The families can now afford to buy additional cattle or set aside money for their children's school fees. Meanwhile, the workers' fortnightly wage allows them to start saving for the future.
According to teachers in the district, the Milk in Schools initiative has improved their pupils' academic performance and attendance records.
NMF is currently a public limited company with annual revenues of over 500,000 euros and its shareholders are the livestock farmers and beneficiaries themselves. The future objective is to try to develop a training course to teach families how to process organic waste and produce their own biogas. In order to continue the success of the Milk in Schools initiative, the state government has distributed cattle to encourage livestock farming in other areas, as well as promoting a National Milk Day.