A Danish Yogurt initiative enhances farmers’ income and delivers improved nutrition. This market-driven partnership to develop nutritious yogurt in Ethiopia creates local growth while supporting children and women in the fight against malnutrition.


Ethiopia has more than 12 million dairy cows, but only a small share of the inhabitants receive nourishment from milk. Nearly 40% of all Ethiopian children suffer from chronic malnutrition.


This challenge sparked collaboration between Danish organisations and businesses and Ethiopian dairies and dairy farmers to develop affordable yoghurt with extra vitamins and minerals missing in the diet of most Ethiopians. The innovative partnership is helping to develop Ethiopia’s dairy sector and establish a sustainable business model for Ethiopian dairies producing the yogurt. The collaboration also increases and secures the income of the Ethiopian dairy farmers selling their milk to these dairies.


The three-year partnership, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark/Danida, is collaboration between DanChurchAid, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Arla Food Ingredients, The Confederation of Danish Industry, and two Ethiopian dairies owned by female entrepreneurs. The dairies produce the nutritious yogurt, which is planned to reach the Ethiopian outlets in 2019.


“This yogurt can improve nutrition in Ethiopia because it is rich in vitamins and minerals. By improving nutrition for Ethiopia’s children, we give younger generations a better future,” says Loni Dairy owner Ms. Tseday Asrat .Loni Dairy and Arla Foods Ingredients have already completed the joint development of a prototype of the yoghurt.


Milk offers the greatest hope  “I have one great hope, and that is milk. We do not have any other source of income,” says 26-year-old Ms. Shibire Mamo from the central Ethiopian village of Warereso Malima. She is one of 400 farmers who will be supplying milk for production of the nutritious yogurt by Loni Dairy. Ms. Shibire Mamo currently owns six dairy cows but she and her husband dream of expanding their herd to 20 cows in five years, and they hope to prosper from the increased demand for milk going into the new yogurt.   The couple has received training in improved hygiene and dairy production techniques, enabling them to reduce waste and increase the production and quality of milk, thereby increasing their income.


“When hygiene is improved and the milk is approved according to technical standards, it’s easier for us to introduce quality based pricing for the milk. We will spend this money to give our two children a better education than the one we received, and that would bring me great joy,” says Habtamu Tagla.