Dairy cooperatives in Mozambique benefit from ILO training tools

In strengthening dairy cooperatives in Mozambique, Coopermondo has been using the ILO tools Think.Coop and Start.Coop in the framework of the SALsA project.

News | 25 April 2022
The rural development project "SALsA - Food Security: strengthening the agro-livestock sector in the provinces of Gaza and Sofala" is financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and implemented by the NGO CEFA, in partnership with Coopermondo.

The SALsA project works to improve the nutrition conditions of the population and promotes a sustainable livestock sector with 200 dairy farmers organized into three cooperatives, located in the peripheral area of the cities of Beira and Dondo, in the province of Sofala. It seeks to strengthen the cooperative movement and local community associations in order to increase food security in the country. To this end, Coopermondo has been partnering with the Mozambican Association for the Promotion of Modern Cooperativism (AMPCM). They worked together to strengthen the management of dairy cooperatives, with the aim of renewing a positive and proactive approach to cooperatives and their members.

Within the SALsA project, Coopermondo's activities include training of trainers and conducting analyses of the viability of cooperatives in the dairy sector. These activities began in 2019, after Cyclone Idai struck violently in some areas of the country, leaving destruction and death including in the Sofala province. Coopermondo carried out the first training for the staff of AMPCM, introducing the methodologies developed by the ILO - Think.COOP and Start.COOP.

These tools transfer basic concepts and principles of cooperativism, such as vertical and horizontal relationships, collective action and the variety of aims among cooperatives (Think.COOP) and facilitate the identification and illustration of the practical steps to create a cooperative using a participatory step-by-step approach (Start.COOP).

Soon after the project got underway, the COVID-19 health emergency hit countries around the world, preventing the movement of people and face-to-face training opportunities. The pandemic also forced project activities to slow down. However, overcoming difficulties and meeting the ever changing needs of most vulnerable communities is exactly the role of cooperation.

Coopermondo continued the process of transferring knowledge around the cooperative model and approach, conducting the training remotely in collaboration with AMPCM as local partner. AMPCM researchers also acquired information and promoted debate among the various stakeholders, in order to facilitate the process of data collection. Once face-to-face activities resumed, the project finalized the training activities with AMPCM staff in Maputo. AMPCM is now applying the training with three farmers’ cooperatives in Mozambique.

One of the results of the project is an overall analysis of the dairy value chain in the area to verify the environmental and technical-economic conditions where the 200 dairy farmers in the three cooperatives operate. With this information, project partners, donors and institutions can identify new strategies of intervention and build synergies. The results of the analysis allow local animal breeding practices to be adapted to the changing local context and to be able to meet the food needs of a growing population.

The context of the SALsA project

Only five per cent of the land in Mozambique is suitable for agriculture, but only 15 per cent of this land is cultivated. The rest of the land is divided between forest and grassland. Eighty per cent of the country’s 32.2 million people live in rural areas with agriculture as the main source of income and resource for food security. Mozambican agriculture is based on small-scale subsistence farmers who produce maize, millet, rice, and various types of pulses and tubers for self-consumption. Only a few large commercial enterprises produce cash crops for export such as cotton, tobacco, cashew nuts, tea, sugar cane and sesame.

Livestock farming is mainly oriented towards small ruminants (goats) and short animals. It has traditionally been an important part of Mozambique's rural economy, playing a key role in food security. As a result of population growth and rising incomes, especially in urban areas, the demand for animal products, particularly dairy and meat, has been increasing. Despite its history and growing consumption of dairy products, especially pasteurized milk and yoghurt, the dairy sector is still insignificant in terms of volume. The country meets much of the demand for dairy products through imports mainly from South Africa. In recent years it has been receiving increasing interest and support from the central government and the international community.