Dairy Farming in KenyaDairy farming is a competitive business worldwide. Small and large scale dairy farmers alike face similar obstacles—slim margins, a fragile product and a decreasing market. Kenya produces 5 billion liters of milk every year and the dairy industry accounts for 5%-8% of the country’s total GDP. This large proportion of GDP means that innovations in dairy farming offer significant potential to improve the livelihoods of thousands. In light of this economic fact, new industry actors are emerging to transform dairy farming in Kenya.

EASYMA 6.0

Finding reliable buyers is a difficult task. In many cases, Kenyan dairy farmers are forced to sell to local traders that pay unfair prices. When the digital scale and supply chain system EASYMA 6.0 was introduced in 2014, however, conditions for dairy producers improved. In collaboration with USAID-funded programs, Kenyan tech agencies developed and deployed EASYMA 6.0 into local communities.

The process of EASYMA 6.0 starts with farmers weighing their milk at designated buyer collection centers. Producers then get an automated receipt as well as an immediate advance. This system ensures that farmers receive fair compensation for the quantity of product they supply. Ultimately, this innovation makes it easier for farmers to earn a fair living wage.

In addition to providing security in payments, EASYMA 6.0 also enhances transparency and record-keeping within the dairy industry. As a result, more than 22,000 Kenyan dairy farmers now have access to farm extension services, financial products and even livestock insurance through EASYMA 6.0.

Mazzi Milk Jug

Although a seemingly small and simple issue, spoiling milk can lead to large losses for dairy farmers in Kenya. Spoiled milk can lead to huge losses, negating much of the hard work performed by farmers. Without viable ways to fix the issue, farmers will continue to lose a valuable part of their product—and, thus, their incomes—every year.

In developing countries, safely delivering milk and dairy products is the hardest challenge farmers face. Small-scale farmers produce 80% of the milk in Kenya. Due to small-scale farmers’ insufficient access to quality storage and refrigeration, a significant amount of milk is spoiled during delivery. This struggle prompted the development of Mazzi, a durable and inexpensive jug that prevents spills and slows curdling.

Traditional jugs, or jerry cans, leave dairy products vulnerable to contaminants that cause spoilage. Additionally, traditional jugs are also fragile and very hard to clean. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation worked with Global Good and Heifer International to find one key solution to this issue: Mazzi.

Mazzi is a 10-liter reusable plastic container that prevents spills, limits contamination and is easy to clean. Mazzi has a wide mouth that allows farmers to use two hands during the milking process, ultimately increasing productivity. The invention also has a detachable black funnel that enables farmers to determine whether cows have udder infections, as well as a stackable lid that helps with transport and makes the product easy to clean.

The Mazzi jug will only cost $5, compared to competitors priced around $30. By increasing incomes through improved yields, this inexpensive innovation is transforming dairy farming in Kenya and improving the lives of farmers in the process.

MyFugo

Many farmers rely on the dairy industry to make a living, yet Kenya has not adopted technology to improve yield. MyFugo is a software application that is projected to increase milk production in Kenya by helping farmers monitor their cows in real-time. Allan Tollo, the app’s founder, explains that “the app helps the farmer monitor his cows throughout the day enabling them to tell what time their cow will be on heat for it to be served at the right time.”

The MyFugo technology operates by using a Smart Cow Collar. Farmers place the device on their cows and receive notifications on their smart devices of the exact time their cow is in heat. Farmers can increase milk production by reducing the calving period by more than six months. This innovation eliminates prevents farmers from missing cow fertility dates, decreases calving intervals and lowers feeding and treatment costs.

The app is free to use, but the collar costs $150. Although expensive upfront, animals will produce more calves in their lifetime leading to higher milk production, increased revenues and greater economic stability for dairy farmers in the long-term.

MyFugo has registered 8,000 farmers already and is constantly working to grow its user base. The app can track animals at any location, as well as identify their risk of disease. Farmers also gain easier access to veterinary doctors and loans. With many small farms traditionally lacking access to veterinary care and financial loans, this innovation offers the potential to transform dairy farming in Kenya.

Broad Impact

Many farmers are reluctant to embrace new technologies that challenge traditional farming techniques. However, these innovations are steadily transforming dairy farming in Kenya and creating unparalleled opportunities for farmers to earn a successful living. With new technology and easy access to records, dairy farming in Kenya is traveling a new road toward lasting progress. The successful integration of technology in Kenya’s dairy farming industry demonstrates the potential of future innovation in the agricultural industry at large.

– Sienna Bahr
Photo: Flickr

The post Innovations Transforming Dairy Farming in Kenya appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Original Source: borgenproject.org

Healthcare in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a United States territory located east of Cuba with the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea surrounding it. This beautiful tropical paradise is a land of wonder with picturesque landscapes for tourists and residents alike. However, behind this convincing guise is the reality of poverty and illness that plagues the country. With 43% of Puerto Rico living in poverty, the healthcare system is a system of great importance as it acts as a crutch to those living in poverty. Here is some information about healthcare in Puerto Rico.

Medicaid in Puerto Rico

Medicaid in Puerto Rico serves approximately half of Puerto Rico’s population of 3.2 million people. The Medicaid program in Puerto Rico is an outlier in comparison to other U.S. states, having to supply healthcare to those in need while facing shortages of doctors and funds. The annual healthcare budget in Puerto Rico is $367 million as of 2019, however, estimates determine that expenditures are closer to $2.8 billion.

Additionally, the Medicaid program operates on a Managed Care system. This system helps to manage cost, utilization and quality, making healthcare in Puerto Rico more affordable and offering better utilization of health resources.

Additional Funding

The Affordable Care Act, section 2005, provided the Medicaid program in Puerto Rico with $5.4 billion in additional Medicaid funding from July 1, 2011, to Sept 30, 2019. Puerto Rico also received an additional $925 million in funds to establish a healthcare market. The country had to exhaust Previous Affordable Care Act funds before it could use additional funds. The Affordable Care Act is a health reform law that passed in March 2010. The law has three goals including increasing the availability of affordable health insurance, expanding the coverage of the Medicaid program to cover adults below 138% of the federal poverty line and supporting innovative methods of medical care delivery to decrease costs of healthcare.

Doctors Leaving the Country

While medical professions receive respect and high pay in the U.S., this is not necessarily true for Puerto Rico. In fact, many Puerto Ricans enter the medical field so they can one day migrate to the mainland U.S.A. According to the Economic Research Institute, the annual average income for a Family Doctor is $194,307, while the U.S. average is $237,000.

Another issue that doctors in Puerto Rico are facing is the scarcity of medical equipment and personnel, often resulting in prolonged waiting times for appointments. According to Vox, the waitlist can take “as long as four to six months to see professionals,” a direct result of Puerto Rico losing approximately 15% of all medical personnel on the island.

Puerto Rico College of Physicians and Surgeons

Shortages in medical personnel and lack of funding have increased wait times and created shortages of medical supplies in Puerto Rico. Thankfully, the Puerto Rico College of Physician and Surgeons is working to combat these challenges. This organization emerged through Law 77 in 1994 and is mandatory for all students pursuing a career in the medical field. The Puerto Rican government uses it to provide doctors where people need them most. The Puerto Rico College of Physicians and Surgeons ensures that doctors studying in Puerto Rico serve there for sometime before finding opportunities elsewhere. As of 2016, the organization has lost approximately 4,000 members to the “temptation in accepting one of those lucrative job offers,” shrinking the number of members from 14,000 to 10,000.

Jaideliz Moreno

The state and quality of healthcare in Puerto Rico have fallen as the years pass by, proving to negatively affect the population. On a seemingly average day in Vieques, a small island off the coast of mainland Puerto Rico, Jaideliz Moreno developed flu-like symptoms. This is a common issue that people face on the mainland U.S.A., but it was a life or death situation for Jaideliz. This was because Vieques, recovering from the destruction that Hurricane Maria caused in 2017, lacked a proper hospital. A small clinic for veterans alongside a labor and delivery room has replaced the hospital that Hurricane Maria destroyed. The small clinic named Susana Centeno Community Health Center lacked the medical supplies necessary to cure 13-year-old Jaideliz Moreno. A helicopter rushed her to mainland Puerto Rico but she died on the way there.

FEMA —Federal Emergency Management Agency— is an agency that strives to support citizens and first responders to show that as a nation we work better together in the face of adversity and disaster. As of January 2020, FEMA has approved $39.5 million to fund the Susana Centeno Community Health Center until a permanent hospital in Vieques is built. As of now, there is no projected completion date of the Vieques hospital.

Healthcare in Puerto Rico is a developing system in need of vital resources and proper funding. This kind of support is key to the growth and improvement of Puerto Rico’s medical work.

– Ernesto Gaytan
Photo: Flickr

The post The Process of Improving Healthcare in Puerto Rico appeared first on The Borgen Project.

Original Source: borgenproject.org

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