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An Innovative Approach To Integrated Training For Smallholder Dairying

Mizeck G. G. Chagunda, David Pusi Munthali, Timothy N. Gondwe, Bethan Wood, David J.H. Roberts
Published 2014 · Economics

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Abstract Purpose: This paper assesses an integrated approach in smallholder dairy training through a partnership between Malawi and Scotland. Design/ methodology/ approach: Acute staff shortages and inadequate expertise hamper progress in Malawi's smallholder dairy production despite its potential to substantially contribute to sustainable household income, food and nutritional security. An integrated training initiative trained farmers, extension workers, development managers, researchers and trainers and graduate students (MSc, MPhil, PhD, and Postdoctoral). To date eight graduate students and one post-doctoral scientist have been associated with this programme. Twenty-two experts have exchanged visits between Scotland and Malawi. A total of 28 lead farmers and 43 extension workers have been trained in forage production, feeding, animal breeding and recording. Practical implications: In an evaluation of the programmes, 76% of farmers indicated that they had accessed animal breeding services, and there was a drop of 69% and 34% in milk lost due to mastitis and adulteration, respectively. Three of the MSc students trained in this programme have been recruited as lecturers at Bunda College. Originality/ value: Through this initiative, a practical diploma course in dairy science has been established in Malawi and a flexible programme for life-long learning is envisaged in the future. Both the integrated approach and the partnership model can be used in other countries across the world to enhance local agricultural education and extension.
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