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Successful Dairy Projects

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Aaron Kaah.

A visit to Small Dairy Development Projects with the Bamendakwe unity and Dairy Farmers cooperatives was the task of an Elanco US study tour team to Heifer International assisted projects in Cameroon on the 30th of May 2011. The Bamendakwe village with some 65.000 people mostly subsistent farmers, some 15KM from Bamenda the capital of the North West Region of Cameroon was the community of attraction for the team.

In a visit to the Dairy farm of Akoh Anthony who had received Heifer donated animals and teachings in 2009, the team came face to face with the animal husbandry of the farmer and his family and how they were striving to improve and sustain the nutrition of their 3 animals with grass the available fed from their neighborhood.
Anthony told the team that division of labor in his family had facilitated the care for their cows. Asked about the care for the animals by Kerry keffaber, Bill Minton and Courtney knupp and how he fed his livestock, Anthony discussed to the best of his knowledge how he systematically constructed his pen, where he harvested grass and how strenuous it was at the initial stages before giving way to a more relaxed and rewarding project. The farmer told the guest about the group bull he was keeping and the hygienic precautions he took before and after milking his animals. “Keeping milk in high quality translated the trainings” Kerry said. “I have 5children and one had being through University thanks to the project” Anthony told the enthusiastic Guest. After joining the project in 2005 Anthony and the family have reaped enormous benefits like the marketing of milk and surplus food crops for extra income with which to run their family and send their children to school After receiving two animals (Heifer and Bull) in 2005 Anthony and his wife have raised five animals, sold one and POG with another. “Good care has an impact on the animals….. And making use of what they can afford from their environment is important” Kerry concluded.

At the next stop, Neteh Susan and her husband Max received the team with all smiles and walked them through their dairy project. The couple talked about their accomplishments and attributed seriousness and working together and the assistance from the Heifer Cameroon counselling to their new found hope in their community. “After receiving an animal in 2009 I now have 3animals and my POG is ready” Susan said. The proud couple talked about the education of their 7children with ease because of income saved through the project and a car Max now proudly rides in the community. Susan’s first daughter has graduated from a teacher training college as a state teacher, thanks owed to the project. “They can study any ever they want” she said. Before joining Dairy project, Max and Susan had been passionate pig farming for over 20 years but Heifer Cameroon guidance moved their project to a rewarding business. The couple told Mike Tockach, Dr Joe Fent, Gary Sexton and Bill Minton how the Heifer training motivated them to give full time interest and investment in pig farming. Showing the team compost gathered from the staples of the livestock Susan said their aims were to maximize food crop production. Apart from the income earned from going to the market with animals and food crops the family had diversified in to tapping palm wine (a local drink collected from palm trees in West Africa) and bee keeping in a bid to expand their wealth. Meticulously keeping their records in every activity s the couple jealously guided these records like wining cards and their guest did not resist leaving some valuable comments on some of the pages.

Receiving the guest at their residence George Ndifor and his wife Grce walked the team through their Dairy staple. These now model farmers had received a dairy cow in 2009 and by respecting Heifer Cameroon prescriptions to the latter, while doing the best they could as a couple successes came their way. “We named our first calf Joy and the second one a Bull Success” George told his visitors as he pointed to his Dairy proud fully. Asked why the names by Marleen New, George and Grace said the names translated the warmth in their hearts and the fulfillments in the project…….. “Nice baby calf”……Betsy Keffaber said smiling at the livestock. Since joining the Heifer Cameroon assisted Dairy project in his community George and his family had sold milk for over 200US Dollars, income with which they have seen their five children through various levels in school and renovated part of his livestock pen. One has graduated from the university with a degree an unbelievable achievement for the family.

Holding the hands of some of the tour members, George said “I’m grateful to the project and to you all, May God bless” he concluded. In the home of one of the project beneficiaries Ndetah Abigail and her husband Augustine the names of the dairy animals also brought the guest to the realities of their rewards in the project. Augustine and Abigail had named 4 of their 5 animals “Joy, happiness, Solomon and the Project”. As an extra ordinary achievement in the project a bio gas installation facility constructed in their residence for cooking and lighting portrayed this family as an ideal one in the community as well as in the project .while treating the team to the joy of the technology Mike Tockach was quick to note that this installed Bio gas facility was a fascinating improvement that made cooking enjoyable and family life comfortable. In a bid to know about the expansion of the skills and technology to other group members the team was told that plans were under way to share the knowledge with more farm families. One bio gas installation facility is priced at 1000US Dollars for its construction.

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