|dc.description.abstract||More than 60% of the dairy products consumed in Swaziland are imported from South Africa. The Swaziland Dairy Board had established the dairy credit guarantee scheme with Swaziland Finance Development Cooperation to improve local dairy production and boost the livelihoods of smallholder dairy farmers. Unfortunately, the scheme was terminated without its effectiveness being evaluated. Therefore, the study set out to investigate the contribution of the dairy credit guarantee scheme to household food security. A total of 30 beneficiary households participated in the study. The data were collected through a structured questionnaire and analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 18.0). The households were compared in terms of the mean number of cows, milk production and volume of sales using the Duncan Multiple Range Test (DMRT).
The dairy scheme was open to all qualifying smallholder dairy farmers, but most (86.7%) beneficiaries were male. The beneficiary households owned, on average, between one and eight cows between 2006 and 2009, and produced 188079 litres of milk on average per year. The highest income generated from milk sales was R74137.00 per year between 2006 and 2009. The lowest income from milk sales was R1020.00, from a household with the lowest number of dairy cows on average per year between 2006 and 2009. Beneficiaries reported that the increase in income enabled them to accumulate agricultural assets, increased food purchases and the diversification of livelihoods. Over 56.7% of the households were able to diversify their livelihoods by engaging in other income-generating projects such as poultry and pig production, horticulture, selling groceries and block (brick) making. With improved income especially milking households were able to increase food supply and this is indicated by their higher average Food Consumption Scores (75.58) than non-milking households (59.65). However, all the average Food Consumption Scores were above 42 which is a threshold level for acceptable nutrient intake, dietary diversity and this implies that the dairy production scheme led to improved dietary intake.
In conclusion, the dairy credit scheme has the potential to improve local milk production and household food security. It is, therefore, recommended that the dairy scheme be revived, with better accessibility. The establishment of dairy development policy should be considered, in order to create a favourable environment for dairying and the promotion of cooperation among dairy development partners. This cooperation would help to avoid duplication of efforts among development partners and create a platform for interaction, sharing of information and exchange of ideas.||en