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How to use this book?

This book is meant to be a resource book for milk producer groups and people working with these groups. It is a basket full of resources from which you can select the parts you feel are helpful to your group. The book is definitely not a 'blueprint' manual, because standard formulae for working with milk producer groups do not exist. Every group is different because the group members are different, as well as the group environment, cultural setting, government rules and regulations, etc.

The language used in this book is kept simple. Examples and illustrations are included for easy reference, the following symbols are used:

indicates an introduction to the chapter;

indicates information sources at the end of the book;

indicates a 'real life' example;

indicates a participatory tool in chapter 6;

indicates that steps are described to complete a task.

The methods and tools described in this book are rough guidelines. It is hoped that it will support innovation and the adaptation of all methods and tools to your own situation. It is not necessary to read the book from the beginning to the end before you start. It intends to give suggestions which are grouped in chapters to facilitate access. Box 1 gives you a brief summary of each chapter.

Please feel free to contribute anything that you think is useful when working with milk producer groups!


chapter one: read this first!
Here the background information for the book is given.

chapter two: forming groups
Here the steps are described for setting up new milk producer groups. Other topics in this chapter include leadership, elections, planning, monitoring and evaluation and management of groups.

chapter three: developing groups
Chapter three focuses on the development of existing groups. If you are working with existing groups, you can directly go to this chapter, but you have to make sure that your group has not forgotten any basic steps mentioned in chapter two.

chapter four: milk collection, processing and marketing
This chapter describes possible group activities in milk collection, processing and marketing. Topics include hygienic collection of milk, record keeping, preservation, transport, sampling, testing, payments, processing of milk and marketing of milk products.

chapter five: other group activities
Chapter five describes possible activities other than milk collection, processing and marketing. These activities include: input supply, financial information, animal breeding and animal health care services that the group can provide to their members.

chapter six: participatory tools
In this chapter some participatory tools are given that will assist you in working with milk producer groups. Tools include mapping, ranking, an assessment checklist, analysis of strengths and weaknesses, and tools to explore possible collaboration with other organizations.

information sources and references
The information sources will provide you with ideas on books, web-sites and addresses for more information on the specific subjects.

glossary and index
Here you will find an explanation of all the key words used in this book, with a reference to the page numbers.

This resource book is a result of the efforts of many people. The key people who collaborated in the development of the ideas and tools in this book are:

OP Sinha (India), Ram Milan Upadhyay (Nepal) and Sudhir Chandra Das (Bangladesh), who all prepared a background document on the situation of milk producer groups in their respective countries; Joe Phelan who compiled these documents into a draft document on milk producer groups; Pat Francis, (Guyana) who greatly assisted during field trials of the participatory tools and the people at Milkvita and the Community Livestock and Dairy Development Project for their hospitality during field visits to Bangladesh.

Further thanks to Daniela Scicchigno, who produced the manuscript in desktop publishing and designed the layout, to Petra Röhr-Rouendaal for all the drawings in this book and to Tim Chamen for editing the text.

FAO colleagues Jean-Claude Lambert, Anthony Bennett, Paulina Couenberg and Masatsugu Okita provided useful comments to the draft. Last but not least thanks to Brian Dugdill of FAO who initiated and co-ordinated this activity.

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