Africare has expanded its food security programs to include food processing technologies that are aimed at increasing food security by decreasing malnutrition (in general and for vulnerable populations) and promoting income generating activities. Africare has also sought ways to promote local processing of food items as a way of encouraging vulnerable groups to engage in business ventures. Africare’s attention to these technologies led to a partnership with Malnutrition Matters in order to introduce (for the first time) VitaCow and VitaGoat soy and food processing systems in Africa.
This paper reports on the experience of using VitaCow (VC) and VitaGoat (VG) soy processing technologies in Africare country programs. It outlines the strengths and weaknesses that have been observed in applying these technologies to reduce malnutrition and promote income generation. The intent is that lessons learned and recommendations presented here will inform future installations of VitaCow and VitaGoat technologies in Africare programs and those of other Cooperating Sponsors. This aim stems from Africare Title II ICB objectives and is aligned with USAID’s strategy to target vulnerable groups when reducing malnutrition (USAID/FFP/DCHA 2005).
Based on the review of the status of VitaCow and VitaGoat systems in Africare country programs, there are several issues that have commonly affected these systems (Annex 3). These include:
- Uncertainty and lack of clarity of the aim of each system,
- Inappropriate placement of systems in remote rural areas,
- The need for business management training and skills for groups operating systems,
- A lack of an established technical support system for repairs, parts, and troubleshooting, and
- The need for a simple tracking system to assess and follow status and impacts of the systems.
This assessment of VitaCow and VitaGoat systems installed by Africare has lead to six major recommendations for Africare to consider and three recommendations to be considered for a broader Cooperating Sponsor VitaCow and VitaGoat network.