Posted on Sep 27, 2019
Greetings all
I have now been back in the country for three weeks and now able to acknowledge those who were so generous in contributing towards the second milk truck for the Kondiki Dairy Co-op in Tanzania.
I was away six weeks this time – three weeks in Tanzania, ten days in Tokyo, Japan and twelve days in NSW Australia. Each of the three stops was special. Tanzania was and always is special (more on that shortly) – Tokyo all the more special this time as our granddaughter Beckie Leigh (Joanne and Jons youngest) was representing NZ in the U19 World Junior Rowing Champs on next years Olympic course.
She was stroke in the woman’s quads and after winning their heat and was equal on time with the German boat in the two semi-finals, a tight race was expected BUT our girls got out in front at the 700 meter mark and never looked back, winning GOLD for NZ by a boat length (2.7sec). The first gold ever in the Junior woman’s quad. Something very special.
Australia … our farming friends milking 330 cows near Tamworth NSW will have their irrigation water turned off on the 2nd October unless there is substantial rain –  100mm in the last 12 mths! The dam that supplies the river 20km upstream will be empty – the coal mining company employing 700 staff 30km away on another water supply dam have been told: “the first week in December – sorry no more water for coal washing”.
We do have so much “going” for us here in NZ, which takes me back to Tanzania and the Kondiki project. We take so much for granted until one spends time in countries of need. I had with me for various time four other New Zealanders this time – very valuable inputs were given by all, one in the grain industry in the South Island along with five other businesses from transport to carrot juice exports to Japan. A husband and wife dairy farming couple with strengths in AI services and LIC background. And Debbie who has a marketing background, a fellow Rotarian and was able to give some focus on issues confronting the business.
Yes, with the support of so many people and Rotary clubs the truck has been purchased and just last week was sent down to Nairobi (Kenya) to get a refrigeration unit installed which will sit over the cab of the truck.
For that I thank you, one and all .
How is Kondiki and the project progressing?
There were some disappointments – especially around management and senior staff. There are about 12-14 staff working at the factory including an accountant, engineers/maintenance and factory floor personnel.
Additional to that there are 10 milk collectors (our tanker drivers) who collect the milk from the farmer – am and pm. This guy (photo) on a 150cc motorbike had 220 litres of milk to be delivered 50km away (that is more than a 220kgs on the back of his bike) – he basically sits on the fuel tank of the bike.
For the last 3-5 yrs, we have tried to put pressure on the Kondiki Board and I even personally funded USD450 5yrs ago to develop a marketing strategy but to no avail until now. Finally, with some additional funding from the Polish Government things are starting to happen.
New ideas and action – fantastic – Our marketing manager Adrian Paul has developed a “pushcart” concept where he has enlisted the help of young persons to push a 3/    cart (photo) around the streets of Moshi (1.2m pop) selling 250mm pottles and pouches of milk – from scratch to 30 – 40 litres a day per pushcart   achieved over the first few days – they were all on a commission basis – buy wholesale, sell retail – bearing in mind the factory only receives 3300ltrs a day – if we sell 1,000ltrs a day by this manner it would quite substantial in the scale of things.  
 Standardisation of the fat in the milk would allow us to produce more butter which gives Kondiki a margin better than 80% - they have not been doing it but that change has already been implemented.
In an 8hr shift, they can make 25kgs of butter in a very small butter churn. If anyone knows of a butter churn that could turn out 10 kgs of butter per hour or thereabouts I would love to hear from them.  In the last two weeks, there has been a meeting of our “tanker driver” boys and they are going to start marketing processed milk to the people from whom they collect the raw milk.
So a lot is happening.
Senior management got a major shakeup – including the Board of Kondiki.
There was too much slippage of management. Financial reporting was almost non-existent. The factory manager I suspect spent a very large part of his day on his computer viewing (in his words) “social media”!
Almost half the milk is being sold at cost, in bulk to another company, so we are looking at the legality of that contract when I left.
Product (55%) was leaving the factory with no batch number, manufacture date or use by date. That was remedied overnight – the biggest breach of the Factory’s “license to manufacture”.
We are winning, farmers are receiving a regular milk payment, better quality milk products and a healthier community and for that, I thank you all for the role you have played in making that happen.
Rod Finch, a Rotarian and food technologist from Christchurch is the mainstay on technical issues, we have had over the last two weeks vastly improved reporting process’s to Rod which is a godsend to getting good procedures in place.
Two steps forward – one back – maybe at times one has to question our progress BUT my fellow kiwis who were with me told me not to be too hard on myself. They consider it is quite impressive what has been achieved over the last 10 years.
Thanks guys and from me personally - Every person or club who has contributed to the project over the years can feel proud – Proud that the 700 families who are members of the  Kondiki Dairy Co-op are in a stronger position because of our efforts than ever before.
The newest development is the Mwika Dairy Co-op retail outlet – half completed when I was there and due for official opening on the 23rd October – Major funder was the Polish government with some carryover monies from the NZ milk truck collection.
Grain storage and hammer mill, hay storage outlet, AI services and semen centre, veterinary supplies – almost a Farmlands, Farm Source type outlet. Very promising.
That’s it from me and the team – once again many, many thanks.
Geoff Mathis   021 2857 305