Dairy development is a sustainable, equitable and powerful tool for achieving economic growth, food security and poverty reduction because dairying:
- provides a regular source of income;
- provides nutritious food;
- diversifies risk;
- improves the use of resources;
- generates on- and off-farm employment;
- creates opportunities for women (e.g., milk money);
- provides financial stability and social standing (e.g., store savings, asset creation).
Factors that drive dairy development include changes in demand; advances in production, transportation and communication technology; improved on-farm productivity; and more efficient dairy chains. To achieve sustainable smallholder dairy development it is vital to form active producer associations and establish reliable dairy chains (it is important to create value in every activity of the dairy chain). The success of dairy development programmes in developing countries is largely influenced by traditional dairy consumption habits.
In many developing countries, dairy development is constrained by refrigeration, marketing, processing, transportation, nutritional and husbandry issues. In addition, small-scale dairy producers lack the skills to manage their farms as enterprises; have poor access to services such as health, breeding, training and credit; have little or no capital for investment; and are thwarted by small herd/flock sizes, low milk yields and poor milk quality.
The development of the dairy sector generally results in an increased workload for women, but it also increases women’s participation in income-generating activities and the process of change. Dairy development can also contribute to reducing the time women spend in low-productive activities. For example, with better organization of milk collection and marketing, women can be released from selling small quantities of surplus milk in the informal market.