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Seeing the potential

Posted by Melanie Anderson, Wed, June 14

When the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders and their university mentors arrive in Arusha, Tanzania–the first leg on a 10-day visit to Africa–they’ll meet Malcolm Hatley. Malcolm is the director of Operations for the Public-Private Partnership for Artificial Insemination Delivery (PAID) program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented by Land O’Lakes International Development.


While director of operations might sound like a title within supply chain to those reading in the U.S., it’s a title given to those who manage international development projects for the 501(c)(3) nonprofit. And it’s one that Malcolm’s earned. On June 19, he’ll be taking his more than 30 years of experience to help the group understand the huge gap that exists between developed and developing countries world…and the potential that lies between. 


The person


Malcolm was born in Zimbabwe and grew up on his family’s commercial farm growing tobacco, wheat, and managed a large beef ranching operation. He went on to university in South Africa and he began his career as a professional civil engineer, working on the sugar estates before marrying his wife Bridgette.  


With a financial qualification and experience in agricultural management, Malcolm changed course, taking a position running the agriculture credit business for the National Bank of Malawi under Standard Chartered Management UK managing and repaying the bank’s debt on its receivership Estates.  


“It was an interesting time as the Life President of the one-party state insisted the bank give loans to his ministers regardless of credit worthiness!” says Malcolm.


Politics in Zimbabwe were changing and in the mid 90s, Malcolm moved home to establish a new tobacco, horticultural and beef export operation to fully expand and utilize his family’s land. They built new housing, school and facilities for staff, and power, dams and irrigation together with drying and packing facilities were built. Commercial agriculture boomed as did the company until 2001 when the land was nationalized without compensation for most commercial farms across the country.


Left with very little, Malcolm and his family moved to Canada where he continued his work in agriculture, first at a greenhouse operation then as an ag bank manager for CIBC. Once his daughter and son had completed university, Malcolm knew he wanted to go back to international development.


“In Canada, you have to pay someone to change a plug in your house. I missed being able to do things myself, to get things done. With my training, with the credit and financing skills and engineering design background, I felt like I could move things forward, more quickly,” Malcolm says.


After a short contract in South America helping establish a Development Finance Bank in South America, he landed his first chief of party in Ghana on a project that was part of the Millennium Challenge issued by former U.S. president George W. Bush in 2002.


In 2013, he joined Land O’Lakes International Development team on a project in Malawi, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture designed to improve processing for rice, cassava and help smallholder farmers with irrigation and sustainability in small business. Then, in 2015, Malcolm was named as the lead for the PAID program, which leads us to today.


The program


In Tanzania and Ethiopia, dairying is a proven route out of poverty, and better breeding practices and appropriate genetics are critical prerequisites to increase productivity. The PAID program will establish more sustainable, efficient and effective private sector and government-led channels for delivering artificial insemination (AI) and related services to smallholder farmers. It’s aimed at improving dairy cattle productivity, while stimulating significant private sector investments that will lead to the inclusive growth of East Africa’s dairy sector.


“We’re training technicians in Tanzania and Ethiopia so more people are well qualified to help smallholder farmers improve their herd. And we partner with another Gates-funded project to gather the data in the field so all AI technicians can download and analyze the data,” says Malcolm.


Theoretically, one day he thinks the results of the PAID project could show farmers the best type of breed for each region in each country.


The potential


When the emerging leaders arrive to the PAID program for the day in Arusha, Malcolm and his team will describe their work through a visit, first to the National Artificial Insemination Centre, which will receive assistance in the next 12 months. Then, they’ll visit a local smallholder milk collection center and meet an AI technician being trained through the program, one of 800 who are spread far and wide through East Africa.


Malcolm hopes that through a day of open discussion, they’ll see the infrastructure challenges in country, and the vast investment needed to support the continued development of the dairy industry. But not to be discouraged, Malcolm says.


“The potential in Africa is huge; it’s why I started my own business here. I see viability for virtually any agribusiness in these countries. With the right foundation, management and mutual understanding, the scale to produce and process for local and export markets is large. I’d like everyone to see what I see. And that’s huge potential.”


To follow their journey, like the Land O’Lakes Global Food Challenge Facebook and Instagram accounts. To learn more about Land O’Lakes International Development, visit