Improving health and wealth by introduction of an affordable bacterial starter culture for probiotic yoghurt production in Uganda
Wacoo, Alex Paul
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In rural Africa, income generating activities of many households heavily depend on agricultural activities. In this paper, we present the results of a multi-year intervention whereby dairy farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs were taught to convert their milk into a probiotic yoghurt using an innovative bacterial starter culture and basic equipment. This intervention creates additional sources of income and employment for people involved in the delivery of milk as well as production, distribution, and sales of yoghurt. Besides the economic benefits, the consumption of the probiotic yoghurt can contribute to reduction of the incidence and severity of diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, atopic diseases, alleviate the symptoms of stomach ulcers, and decrease the uptake of aflatoxins in the body. With minimal external financial support, 116 communities or small entrepreneurs have been able to start, expand, and maintain a business by production and sales of probiotic yoghurt. Applied business models and success rate in terms of revenues and profitability varied per region and depended on location, culture, ownership structure, wealth status, and gender.