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Enjoying milk


  • Nancy Morgan
    Livestock Policy Officer
    FAO Regional Office for the Asia Pacific region
  • nancy.morgan@fao.org
  • Anthony Bennet
    Dairy and Meat Officer
    Animal Production and Health Division
    Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
    Rome 00153, Italy
  • anthony.bennett@fao.org



US$250 million Asia Smallholder Dairy Development Strategy and Outline Investment Plan unveiled

"A glass of Asian milk a day for every Asian child" was the goal identified by a senior level stakeholders meeting organised by FAO recently in Bangkok.


Two thirds of the world's 800 million undernourished people live in the Asia-Pacific Region. Just one daily glass of milk would contribute significantly to improving the nutrition of children in the region, with all the attendant benefits related to health and education. Boosting the productivity of milking animals by just 20 percent could provide the milk required for a daily glass of Asian milk for every Asian child.


Around 80 percent of milk in Asia is produced by smallholders and there are also tens of millions of traders and dairy entrepreneurs, small and large. The smallholder dairy sector produces multiple benefits for its numerous stakeholders including: (i) poverty reduction though regular family income; (ii) off-farm jobs estimated to be one job per 10-20 litres per day of milk marketed; (iii) environmental benefits through balanced and integrated farming systems; (iv) low energy use compared with industrialised dairy production; and (v) improved household food security and nutrition.


Demand for dairy products in the region has doubled since 1980, and in many countries production has lagged behind demand with the result that import dependency has increased. Imports are estimated at 24 million in 2007, valued at approximately USD14 billion, and are estimated to supply as much as half the formal dairy sector. The cost of imports has surged recently with the global increase in prices for dairy products. This strong marketing environment provides attractive opportunities for smallholders, to substantially improve the productivity of their animals through improved feeding and breeding practices. In so-doing smallholders can contribute towards making the region more food-secure, and helping to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of halving poverty and under-nutrition.


To reach this goal an Asia Smallholder Dairy Development Strategy and Outline Investment Plan (value US$250 million) has been prepared.


The strategy is based on four mutually reinforcing pillars which were identified by stakholders:


Pillar 1: Human resource development and knowledge management


Pillar 2: Improving the productivity and competitiveness of smallholder milk producers


Pillar 3: Strengthening the linkages between farmers and consumers to deliver a quality product at a fair price


Pillar 4: Enhancing the enabling environment


For more detail read the document Asia smallholder dairy development strategy and outline investment plan