Gateway to dairy production and products

The dairy chain

Dairy chains link the actors and activities involved in delivering milk and milk products to the final consumer; with each activity the product increases in value. A dairy chain can involve production, transport, processing, packaging and storage. Activities require inputs – such as financing and raw materials – which are employed to add value and to transport dairy products to consumers. Every actor of the chain should give the product the maximum added value at the minimum possible cost.

Setting up an efficient, hygienic and economic dairy chain is a serious challenge in many developing countries. Among the reasons for this are:

  • difficulties in establishing a viable milk collection and transport system because of the small quantities of milk produced per farm and the remoteness of production sites;
  • seasonality of the milk supply;
  • poor transport infrastructure;
  • deficiency of technology and knowledge in milk collection and processing;
  • poor quality of the raw milk;
  • distances from production sites to processing units and on to consumers;
  • difficulties in establishing cooling facilities.


The information presented in this section of the Gateway was drawn from FAO publications.