Bill Gates backs innovation to improve dairy supply chain in Africa

Gurjit Degun
4 July 2014

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5 July 2014 | Gurjit Degun

Bill Gates is helping to improve Africa's dairy supply chains by assisting SME farmers to maximise the quality and quantity of milk they are able to sell.

Global Good, a collaboration between Intellectual Ventures and Gates to improve life in developing countries, has invented and is now making commercially available a container designed specifically for milk collection and transportation.

In Kenya alone, approximately 80 per cent of the country’s milk is produced by more than a million small-scale farmers who have limited options available for collecting, storing and transporting milk. 

Global Good explained: “Traditional milk pails can be kicked over during milking and gather contaminants that accelerate spoilage. From these pails, farmers often pour milk into repurposed jerry cans that break easily and are difficult to clean.

“To address these breakdowns in the dairy supply chain, Global Good and Intellectual Ventures Laboratory set out to invent an improved milking and transportation system optimised for farmers in developing countries.”

SNV Ethiopia – a local office of the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation which aims to alleviate poverty – will invest $1 million (£583,616) as part of an ongoing dairy project in the region to coordinate local manufacturers, as well as supply chains throughout Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.

“Global Good’s milking and transportation system is exactly the type of impact-focused innovation that SNV Ethiopia looks for,” said Jan Vloet, SNV Ethiopia country director. "By addressing the needs of smallholder farmers, they’ve developed a product that has the potential to strengthen the entire rural dairy value chain.”

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