Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cutting Edge Technologies to Help Kenyan Farmers Break into Export Markets, as Global Milk Prices Soar

09.11.2007
As global milk prices continue to rise, Kenyan small-scale farmers are poised to become major players in the market for milk, according to researchers at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi.

In the past, high-quality standards of global producers have prevented countries like Kenya from competing with major exporters. But the steep rise in milk prices worldwide could give smallholder producers an edge in the global market, which is estimated at USD48 billion a year.

New livestock breeding strategies are likely to be vital in meeting increased demand for Kenyan milk without risking the loss of hardy local breeds, according to scientists speaking at a conference in Nairobi.

“The big new market incentives are presenting opportunities and challenges alike for developing countries,” said ILRI’s Director General, Carlos Seré. “Rising prices are driving more indiscriminate cross-breeding, which is leading to the extinction of tropical breeds, as well as to poorly performing second- and third-generation cross-bred animals.”

In the last 12 months, the world market price for milk has more than doubled from some USD28 per 100kg to over USD60. In the past, distorted markets and high standards in the international milk market have stopped Kenya from competing with powdered-milk-exporting countries. Today’s high dairy prices are forcing some manufacturers to find alternative, less expensive, milk, which is allowing Kenya to enter the export markets at significant levels for the first time.

Small-scale milk producers are big milk producers

Kenya has about 1.8 million rural households keeping some 6.7 million dairy cows. These small-scale farmers and traders handle more than 80 per cent of all the milk marketed in the country. Despite their size, they are prepared to compete with the industrialized world’s biggest dairy producers, according to ILRI agricultural economist Steve Staal. “The small farmers make use of family and other cheap labour and grass, crop stalks and other residues, to feed their cattle, rather than costly grain,” Staal said.

These and other issues were the topic of an international conference in Nairobi that ILRI convened (8-9 November 2007) to address how improved animal breeding can reduce world poverty—partly by helping poor nations benefit from the skyrocketing demands and prices for milk, meat and eggs.

Animal breeding can help small farmers exploit the growing milk markets

Seré noted that the region’s cattle breeders must be careful to conserve valuable local breeds, which are better able to survive harsh conditions than are high-producing cattle imported from industrialized nations. “In Kenya, for example, the familiar black-and-white Holstein dairy cow is a status symbol among smallholders, who want to own this high-milk-producing exotic animal,” Seré said. “Smart and sustainable breeding strategies that conserve local breeds can bring about higher smallholder milk production.”

In East Africa, milk production and consumption has always been big business, and in Kenya, the dairy industry is the single largest agricultural sub-sector--larger in value than horticulture or tea. Kenyans are amongst the highest milk consumers in the developing world, consuming an estimated 145 litres per person per year on average. Among all developing countries, only Mongolians and Mauritanians consume more milk per dollar earned than do Kenyans. The milk market in East Africa as a whole is estimated at USD1.7 billion a year. This excludes the 34 per cent of the region’s milk that is consumed on-farm, which is an important source of household nutrition.

Staal says the new breeding strategies for Kenya need to be two-pronged.

“The agriculturally high-potential highlands of Kenya are already ‘densely dairied’. One out of four households here already owns at least one cross-bred dairy cow. But dairy cattle in East Africa are currently low milk producers, averaging about 7 litres per day. We expect dairy expansion thus to happen on two fronts. We need higher-producing cross-breeds for the high-potential areas as well as hardier cross-breeds for less-favourable agricultural areas, particularly Kenya’s vast drylands where water, feed and veterinary services are scarce.”

Over the last decade, scientists at ILRI’s Nairobi-headquarters have worked with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), the Kenyan Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, and civil society groups to help transform the country’s 39,000 informal ‘raw’ milk sellers into legitimate milk marketers. This achievement led to gains for Kenyan dairy producers and consumers—through improved market efficiency—of an estimated USD29 million per year. This research has also helped to deliver improved livestock technologies, including breeding strategies designed for poor farmers.

Pioneered in Kenya, these new dairy interventions are now being expanded into other countries of eastern Africa and Asia, especially India, where smallholder dairying is also booming.

“With better and more appropriate breeds and species of farm animals, many of the 600-million-plus livestock keepers in poor countries will be able to produce more milk, as well as meat and eggs, for the fast-growing global livestock markets,” Seré said. He noted that new science-based breeding technologies and policies will help raise smallholder dairy yields in sustainable ways, pulling millions out of poverty while conserving valuable local cattle breeds.

Unprecedented opportunities for Kenya’s smallholders

Researchers pointed out that higher prices, paired with surplus supplies of milk in Kenya, also could make Kenya a significant player in a growing second market—for ultra-heat treated milk (UHT) which needs no refrigeration until the packages are opened.

In a conversation with ILRI, Machira Gichohi, Managing Director of the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB), noted that Kenya is the only country in the region with exportable quantities of milk available.

“This year we have seen significant increases in exports from Kenya,” Gichohi said. “Buyers include major food manufacturers, such as Cadbury. We’re already exporting milk powder to other sub-Saharan African countries, including South Africa, as well as to Asia and the Middle East. In addition, the UHT milk market is opening up and we’re now exporting long-life milk to Mauritius and South Africa.”

“Private processors are considering building two new processing plants to respond to the increased opportunities,” Gichohi added.

Appropriate breeding strategies, and the science required to support them, will be critical to new income gains for small farmers.

About ILRI

The Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works at the crossroads of livestock and poverty, bringing high-quality science and capacity-building to bear on poverty reduction and sustainable development. ILRI works in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, with offices in East and West Africa, South and Southeast Asia, China and Central America. For further information, please visit www.ilri.org.


Background Information
Quick Stats:
The latest figures for Kenya’s milk sector
In 2006, Kenya’s Smallholder Dairy Project (SDP) updated its dairy figures to reflect more accurately the true size and extent of Kenya’s milk sector.
1. Smallholder dairy farms: 1.8 million (up from 800,000)
The estimated number of 800,000 smallholder farms has been widely cited for many years, during which time Kenya’s population has grown significantly. SDP recalculates the number of smallholder dairy farms to be 1.8 million.
2. Milk hawkers: 39,650 (up from 30,000)
SDP recalculates the number of small milk vendors in Kenya to be 39,650.
3. Dairy cattle: 6.7 million (up from 3 million)
Official cattle figures for Kenya are unreliable; no livestock census has been conducted for decades and methods used to estimate cattle numbers are imprecise. A conservative estimate of the size of the national dairy herd made using detailed SDP survey data suggests that there are about 6.7 million dairy cattle (2.7 million high-grade and 4 million cross-bred cows) kept on 1.8 million rural smallholder farms, mainly in the Kenyan Highlands. This projected cattle population is more than twice the officially reported figure of 3 million for the national herd.
4. Milk produced: 4 billion litres per year (up from 3 billion)
Based on SDP’s recalculated cattle projections above, SDP recalculates total milk production in the rural highlands to be an estimated 4 billion litres per year.
5. Milk consumed: 145 litres per person per year (up from 100 litres)
SDP recalculates Kenyan milk consumption to be 145 litres per person per year, making Kenyans among the highest milk consumers in the developing world. The rural areas have an estimated population of about 14.5 million people. Assuming that the estimated 9.6 million people living in the urban areas depend on milk mainly from the high-potential areas, and that 13 per cent of the milk produced is spoiled or fed to calves, milk availability from the highlands was estimated to be about 145 litres per person per year. Previously, milk consumption in Central and Rift Valley provinces, which are important milk production areas, was estimated to be between 144 and 152 litres per person per year.

Source: Kenya Smallholder Dairy Project website: www.smallholderdairy.org

Jeff Haskins | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.smallholderdairy.org
http://www.ilri.org/johnvercoeconference/

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics

06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration

06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>