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Feed the Future




Enhancing Milk Quality and Consumption for Improved Income and Nutrition in Rwanda

Principal investigator (PI) and lead institution

Dr. Emily Ouma, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

Co-PI and collaborator institutions

  • Dr. Valerie Flax, RTI International (and University of North Carolina)
  • University of Rwanda
  • TechnoServe

Results & Updates


Increasing the quality, marketing, and consumption of ASF, including milk, is an important research for development priority for Rwanda. Rwanda’s dairy industry is recognized by the GoR as a strategic sector that can improve incomes and nutrition of poor households. The aim of the project is to contribute to efforts aimed at enhancing the quality and consumption of milk for improved income and nutrition in Rwanda. The proposed project draws upon the work and lessons of a previous GoR program, the One Cow per Poor Family (Girinka) program, and an ongoing USAID Feed the Future funded program - Rwanda Dairy Competitiveness Program (RDCP II).

Specific research objectives include the following:

  • Evaluate the impact of a nutrition education intervention on ASF consumption and nutrition outcomes among children 6-23 months of age and pregnant and lactating women: The overall purpose is to determine whether participation in the Girinka program alone or Girinka participation plus targeted nutrition education is more effective at improving maternal and child ASF consumption and nutrition outcomes. The intervention will educate project participants on the importance of nutrition, including through behavior change messaging on ASF, especially milk. This intervention will be evaluated using a cluster-randomized design.
  • Assess and enhance the performance and capacity of dairy cooperatives to improve market access for smallholder milk producers: Various challenges affect function of the cooperatives, including poor management, lack of training, lack of refrigeration, and pest control. This project will assess performance gaps of the cooperatives in aspects of governance, gender, leadership, and business management. Based on the results, a gender-sensitive capacity development response plan will be drawn, implemented, and its impacts evaluated.
  • Evaluate the costs and benefits to value chain agents of supplying milk that meets the Seal of Quality (SOQ) standards: The RDCP II evaluation notes that although the SOQ initiative is believed to have had positive impact, the impact has not been properly quantified and the analysis done so far has yielded mixed results. Therefore, an analysis of its costs and benefits, including cost drivers and sensitivity of the benefits to changes, and their distribution at the different nodes of the value chain will be undertaken. Recommendations from the evaluation will be communicated to milk producers and processors during efforts described under (2).
  • Assess consumer demand for milk quality and safety attributes: The potential to sustain supply of quality milk depends, in part, on consumers’ willingness to pay a price premium for quality attributes. The project will assess consumers’ preference for specific milk quality attributes and willingness to pay for milk that meets SOQ standards. Information generated will be integrated in efforts described in the other objectives, above. The project will be implemented in 2 to 4 districts, covering 1 to 2 milk sheds.

Knowledge gained during the study will be disseminated using a variety of strategies, including stakeholder meetings, dairy cooperative meetings, and through publications and international conferences.

More Information

Photo credit: E. Ouma

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