Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


1.2 Global overview of tropical dairy production

About two thirds of the world's cattle, almost all buffalo (97%) and half of all sheep and goats are found in the tropical zones of Africa, Asia and America, regions which support 70% of the world human population. Three quarters of the 3.9 billion people in the tropics live in Asia (Table 1. 1).

Table 1.1 Livestock, milk and people in tropical Africa (SSA), Asia and Central and South America (CSA)


SSA

Asia

CSA

Total (Mean)

Bovines, ma

165

509

329

1003

AU, mb

92

240

262

594

Milk, m tonnes

13.2

91.9

44.2

149.3

Milk, kg AU-1

143

382

168

(251)

People, m

519

2886

457

3862

Milk, kg caput-1 yr-1

25

32

97

(39)

Source: Seré et, al., 1996
a bovine = cattle and buffalo; b AU = animal unit equals 400 kg LW

Livestock production in the three continents differs in many respects, mainly due to human population density. Compared to Asia, sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Central and South America (CSA) have relatively low population densities. Agricultural land (grazing and cropland) is 1.6 ha caput-1 while in Asia it is 0.3 ha (Table 1.2). Livestock wealth shows a different trend, ranging from 0.08 animal units (AU of 400 kg LW) caput-1 in Asia to 0.18 and 0.57 in SSA and CSA, respectively. Conversely, agricultural land available per AU in SSA is 2.5-3.5 times higher than in Asia and CSA, mainly because in the latter the quantities of feed ha-1 from rain-fed and irrigated cropland (in Asia) and sown pastures (in CSA) are much higher than from the natural range-lands in SSA (Winrock, 1992), which provide over 80% of the total livestock feed in Africa (Table 1.2).

Table 1.2 Land, livestock and people in tropical Africa (SSA), Asia and Central and South America (CSA)


SSA

Asia

CSA

Total

Grazing, m ha

745

561

587

1843

Crops, m ha

127

358

131

616

Ha AU-1

9.5

3.8

2.7

4.1

Ha caput-1

1.68

0.32

1.57

0.6

Source: Seré et al, 1996

These land endowments impact on milk production. In 1993-4, the tropics produced 150 million tonnes of milk or 36% of the global output (Seré et al., 1996). In SSA, three quarters of the milk is produced by cattle, the remainder coming from camels mainly in the arid zone - and goats (Walshe et al., 1991). In Asia, cattle account for 47% of all milk, with most of the remainder produced by buffalo. In CSA, almost all milk is produced by cattle.

The interplay between people, livestock and land (Tables 1.1. 1.2) has resulted in variable availability of milk. In Africa and Asia, there is about 30 kg caput-1 yr-1, one third as much as in CSA (Table 1.1). Milk yields averaged about 60 kg per 100 kg of livestock mass maintained, ranging from 36 kg in SSA to 95 kg in Asia (Table 1.1). The latter is one tenth of the efficiency in the OECD countries (950 kg AU-1), where the average dairy cow produces 5100 kg milk yr-1, compared to 340, 900 and 1 100 kg per cow milked in SSA. Asia and CSA, respectively.

Sub-Saharan Africa

As shown in Table 1.1, milk output per AU and per caput in SSA is lower than in Asia and America, despite a stocking rate of only 0.1 AU ha-1 of agricultural land. Milk output is lowest in the subhumid/humid zone because livestock wealth per caput is low, fewer cows and goats are milked and offtake per cow is lower than in the other zones (Table 1.3). The highlands of SSA are the most productive in terms of milk ha-1, but production per head of cattle is lower than in the dry zone (70 vs 58 kg); this is because the majority of cattle are found in the Ethiopian highlands, where male stock used for traction comprise a high fraction of the herd. However, in the densely populated highlands of Kenya, and to a lesser extent in Tanzania, milk production has risen rapidly due to the widespread adoption of intensive dairy production with crossbred or high grade cows.

Table 1.3 Livestock, land and milk production in arid/semi-arid (A/SA), subhumid/humid (SH/H) and highland (HL) sub-Saharan Africa


A/SA

SH/H

HL

AU caput-1

0.26

0.10

0.25

Grazing, ha AU-1

10.1

7.4

4.6

Crops, ha AU-1

1.1

2.3

0.8

Milk




· Kg AU-1

191

76

135

· Kg caput-1

49

8

34

· Kg ha-1

17

10

25

Source: Seré et al, 1996.

These zonal differences in production systems reflect - at least in part - dietary and cattle keeping habits of the local population. Whereas in the dry zones and the highlands, cattle keeping and milk consumption has been a long tradition, in the more humid zones cattle keeping has been constrained by tick-borne diseases and trypanosomosis, resulting in a predominance of sheep and goats and minimal dairy production.

Asia

The three major agricultural systems in tropical Asia - pasture-based, rain-fed and irrigated crop-livestock - support three quarters of the human population in the tropics or just over half the global human population of 5.5 billion (Table 1. 1). The extensive agro-pastoral system is well-endowed with grazing land, covering 70% of the total. Milk production is low (Table 1.4), because livestock are primarily kept for meat, with its beef production accounting for 15% of Asia's total output.

The proportion of irrigated land distinguishes the other two production systems. In tropical Asia, in sharp contrast to sub-Saharan Africa, about a quarter of the cropland is irrigated, with approximately 20% in the "rain-fed" group and 50% in the "irrigated" systems. The two systems are distributed similarly across eco-zones: 50% in the semi-arid, 35% in the humid zone and 15% in the highlands and support 2.6 billion people, two-thirds of whom are associated with the high-irrigation system (Table 1.4). Livestock and land capital is greater in the rain-fed system resulting in higher milk availability per caput, and higher milk yields of cattle and buffalo per AU.

Table 1.4 Livestock and milk production in three major agricultural systems in tropical Asia


Pasture based

Rain-fed Crop-livestock

Irrigated Crop-livestock

AU caput-1

0.09

0.11

0.08

· Cattle

0.14

0.17

0.11

· Buffalo

-

0.07

0.05

Grazing ha AU-1

16.7

0.8

0.8

Cropland ha AU-1

0.7

1.6

1.3

Milk




· Kg AU

20

509

324

· kg ha-1

1

211

155

· Kg caput-1

2

56

24

Source: Seré et al, 1996

In Asia, as elsewhere, the development of dairy production systems is strongly driven by cultural preferences and their market forces. As a result, India and Pakistan, at 75 kg milk caput-1 yr-1, contribute 96% of all the milk produced in tropical Asia. By contrast, in SE Asia, where 550 mill. people consume on average 12 kg caput-1 yr-1, in 1995 two thirds was imported; milk production from local cattle and buffalo is low and dairy systems, as yet, are relatively unimportant.

Central and South America

In Central and South America (CSA) livestock systems can be grouped by eco-zone for the semi-arid and the highland regions, and by production system (pasture-based or crop-livestock) in the humid zone; the latter are the most important as they include 70% of all cattle and two thirds of the land (Table 1.5). Yet, because of the relatively low population density, they include only half of CSA's 456 mill. people (Table 1.1). The contrast between the two humid zone systems is evident, with livestock capital and milk production much higher in crop-livestock systems (Table 1.5). Output ratios as a proportion of total milk and meat are 20:42 percent in the pasture-based and 25:22 percent for the crop-livestock systems, where productivity per unit of land is four times as high. Livestock in the highlands (mainly the Andean chain of mountains) are found in pasture-based production systems at high altitude (>2700 m a.s.l.) merging into crop-livestock systems at lower altitudes and in valleys. These systems are diversifying into cash crops (Quiroz et al, 1997), explaining the high arable/grazing land ratio.

In the semi-arid zone, mainly concentrated in NE Brazil, arable land in the pasture-based and crop-livestock systems comprises only 3% of the total land, a quarter of which is irrigated. In terms of livestock output, this region is the least important, as it supports 15% of all cattle and produces only 17% of total milk of the region.

Table 1.5 Land, cattle, milk and people in Central and South America



Humid



Semi-arid

Pasture

Crop-liv.

Highlands

AU caput-1

0.37

1.54

0.50

0.28

Cattle caput-1

0.45

1.95

0.65

0.35

Grazing ha AU-1

2.7

2.6

1.1

2.1

Arable ha AU-1

0.2

0.4

0.4

0.5

Milk





· Kg AU-1

191

87

273

237

· Kg ha-1

55

29

118

73

· Kg caput-1

71

135

118

68

Source: Seré et al., 1996


Previous Page Top of Page Next Page