Dairying offers opportunities for rural livelihoods and nutritional security, particularly in societies already having a tradition of cattle-keeping. Perhaps uniquely amongst agricultural pathways out of poverty, it offers many pro-poor benefits from small-scale production and marketing. These include opportunities for intensification and enhanced productivity and incomes, employment in services and marketing, and nutrition both for the smallholder household and the poor in towns and cities served by informal markets.
On 9 March 2012. the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and Sokoine University of Agriculture researchers together with partners including Irish Aid and the International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD) held a consultative meeting on the current status of the smallholder dairy value chains in Tanzania and the opportunities for research and development to support its growth for effective poverty reduction.
The meeting shared information about current efforts to promote smallholder dairy value chains in Tanzania, what is working and the challenges faced, and charted a way forward for joint actions.
The meeting served as a springboard for several Tanzanian projects and partners involved in the new CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish to come together. These include the ‘MilkIT’ project in Tanzania and India supported by IFAD as well as the ‘More milk in Tanzania’ project supported by Irish Aid.
One key outcome was a proposal was to set up a ‘Dairy Development Forum’ (DDF) to facilitate multi-stakeholder coordination and engagement in the dairy sector.