Lydia Nyirongo and Her Fabulous Cow

How much difference can good food and medication make in the production of milk in cows? For Lydia Nyirongo’s cow, it can mean the direct difference between 2 and 10 litres a day!

When Lydia took a loan of £140 from Deki in late 2013, she was confident that investing in her livestock would help improve her family’s income, and she was right. Lydia lives on a small compound with several of her children and grandchildren and they depend heavily on her cow for milk to consume at home and to sell to the local milk cooperative. Lydia’s family consumes 1.5-2 litres of milk per day, which means they were previously consuming all the milk her cow was able to produce. Since she was able to invest in good food for the cow and medications to keep it healthy the cow has started producing enough to feed the family and sell an average of 8 litres per day.

Lydia now sells the extra milk to the local milk cooperative for 120 Malawian Kwacha (approx. 18p) per litre, which means she is now earning an extra £1.50 each day. This represents a huge increase in income for Lydia and her family and is helping Lydia invest in her business and the future. She is able to help pay the school fees for her grandchildren and is saving to buy another cow. Through her increase in earnings, Lydia is now also able to pay the artificial insemination fee of £6 for her cow. With any luck, in the next year or so Lydia will have a small but growing farm of cows that will help ensure her family is well looked after for many years to come.