In most cases, local breeds of animals are selected for the project and the selection is made from good quality stock that is found in the area. However, there are times when an improvement in quality of the local animals is necessary, either within the breed type or from crossbreeding.
Numerous projects around the world, that Heifer is implementing, are preserving and improving the quality of the local and indigenous breeds. For example- black Bengal goats in India, local breeds of chicken in Cambodia, local breeds of pigs in Philippines as well as Heifer Ranch which is preserving native US breeds of sheep, goats, pigs, etc. for educating visitors about the value of local and indigenous breeds.
Unfortunately, for Heifer's East Africa Dairy Development (EADD) program, most indigenous cattle simply are not productive enough to produce quantities of dairy that make sense for a small-scale farmer under intensive conditions. Generations of focusing on quantity over quality for the East African cattle herd have resulted in a degradation of productivity. Having unproductive but healthy cattle does little to help impoverished farmers end hunger and poverty.
Much of our interventions, as far as cattle in Africa, is focused on breed improvement through hybridization with placement of pure breeds and Artificial Insemination, taking advantage of the indigenous vigor and the other breed's production.
Many of the governments are focused on this, as well. The interest of the communities and government, both local and national, guide our development effort. If some of the species/breeds of livestock (in this case Holsteins) are promoted by the respective government, and communities are interested, Heifer International sources them from within the country or the neighboring countries, if not from neighboring countries. These animals are brought into communities, if they are appropriate, after some sorts of feasibility studies or assessments.
If the government has strategies to improve breeds, through live animal import or Artificial Insemination, Heifer; Heifer International collaborates with government livestock/veterinary service systems to increase effectiveness and provides resource through the projects that are being implemented.