News and updates on research on livestock value chains by the International Livestock Research Institute and partners

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Are smallholder dairy farmers in East Africa competitive?

Small-scale dairy farms dominate production in most developing countries, including in East Africa. In the light of rapidly increasing demand for milk in most of the developing world, one important question is: can small-scale dairy farmers compete in the international arena? Also, what factors influence their competitiveness?

These questions were explored recently during a presentation by ILRI agricultural economist, Dr Isabelle Baltenweck, at the 6th Africa Dairy Conference and Exhibition held in Kigali, Rwanda on 18-20 May 2010.

The presentation was based on research findings from the East Africa Dairy Development project which quantified farm-gate milk prices and costs of milk production in study sites in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

The findings indicate that smallholder dairy producers in East Africa can effectively compete, mainly due to strong local demand. This can be further enhanced by improving economies of scale; enhancing access to inputs, services and appropriate technologies; improving infrastructure; and creating an enabling policy and institutional environment.

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