Mbozi farmers project gets $750,000 support

Heifer International has been awarded a Starbucks Foundation grant of $750,000 to help fund the Mbozi Farmer Livelihood Improvement Project in Mbeya Region, the non-profit organisation has said.

The money will fund a programme helping smallholder coffee growing communities in the region. As much as 90 per cent of the population in the Mbozi District is engaged in coffee farming and the grant will help diversify some farmers with dairy heifers and bulls.

The Mbozi District project also will increase access to water and improve sanitation, as well as increase use of alternative sources of renewable energy.

“Adding dairy farming will ensure coffee farmers have a steady flow of income to reinvest into their coffee farms,” said Heifer’s President and CEO Pierre Ferrari.

“By introducing higher and steadier income levels from dairy, coffee farmers will actually have increased capital to invest in physical inputs and new technology to increase coffee production.”

The grant is part of Starbucks comprehensive approach to ethical sourcing, it said. To date, Starbucks has contributed $15 million in social projects to support farming communities around the world.

The project will be part of the East Africa Dairy Development Project in Tanzania and will assist at least 5,000 smallholder coffee farmers and their families.

Heifer and Starbucks have collaborated in the past. In 2009, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz visited smallholder coffee farmers in Rwanda and wound up helping provide cows for the region.
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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