Whether it's milk, yogurt or cheese — people all over the world consume and enjoy dairy-based foods. However, while these products have great potential as sources of calcium, protein and vitamin D, their nutritional value is not necessarily guaranteed without good farming practices.
When Abbott was faced with the growing demand for nutrition products in India, it needed to ensure a dependable supply of high-quality milk. But many dairy farmers in India lacked the technical knowledge and resources to produce high-quality dairy.
Abbott partnered with Prabhat, an Indian dairy company, and TechnoServe, an international nonprofit that supports farms and businesses in the developing world. Together, they created a program to transform farmers' lives by providing them with the knowledge, resources and infrastructure needed to produce high-quality milk and run their businesses, while at the same delivering the milk needed for Abbott's nutrition facility locally.
Sharing Skills and Knowledge
A high-quality milk product begins at the source. Abbott and its partners worked closely with farmers by providing them with the skills to produce or use only quality feed, appropriately care for livestock and ensure good post production practices. The program also addresses methods for overcoming drought and feed contamination. This same level of care is maintained down the supply line, through collection, transport and storage of the milk to help farmers deliver quality milk and get paid fairly for it.
In addition to good farming practices, Abbott also provides training in farm management and financial stewardship – and has made it an initiative to extend these opportunities to women. Experience has shown that educating and investing in women benefits not only their families but the farms and communities as well.
To say the program has been a success would be an understatement. At no additional cost to them, participating farmers have seen their production nearly double. With better practices, the milk they produce is more nutritious – with higher levels of protein, vitamins, minerals and fat.
Thanks to the improved quality, Abbott is able to support the local economy by purchasing and using milk from dairy farmers in India.
Through the initial pilot program, Abbott has made a difference in the lives of more than 1,500 farmers – half of them women - by way of an empowered and more sustainable supply chain for developing high-quality dairy products. The potential for this program is huge, and this is only the beginning. There is work underway to expand the program to reach thousands of additional farmers across the region.
For more information on the program and results, click here.