Faces of Change

Dairy Farmers Making a Cool Profit

Not long ago, dairy farmers in the Ahmednagar district of India’s Maharashtra state were caught in an economic trap. There was no formal market for their milk, so investing in improved production would be a risky proposition; at the same time, producing low volumes and low-quality milk meant that they would struggle to attract good buyers. “I never thought dairy farming could be a profitable business for me,” recalled Mahendra Gayake, who owned two dairy cows.

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Finding New Markets for an Old Product

Every morning, Irenice de Fátima Bicalho is at work on her farm before 3 a.m.; when the sun comes up over the low, green hills and red earth of Minas Gerais state in Brazil, she is already busy milking the cows. Her husband’s family has owned the small farm for a century, and for the last 60 years, generation after generation has produced artisanal cheese. When Irenice and her husband took over, she ran the business the same way: producing local-style cheese and selling it through informal markets in the nearest town.

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Turning Cashews into Job Opportunities

As Mélanie Ahoka walks the factory floor, she sees hundreds of women hard at work, processing raw cashew nuts. She identifies with them: she, too, is receiving a steady wage for the first time due to Benin’s cashew boom.

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