Integrating informal milk markets into formal value chains in Eastern and Central Africa

Published on 17 March 2010

Research Areas



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Start Date: 1 October 2008 | End Date: 15 September 2011


The informal dairy industry in the East and Central Africa region plays a dominant role in milk marketing, handling over 80-90% of all milk sold. The sector provides millions of poor consumers with a nutritious, affordable product and employs thousands of traders and service providers.

Evidence shows that formal milk markets will grow only as household incomes increase, and they are therefore expected to predominate for many years to come, given trends in demand. Besides the price advantage, other factors underlying the high demand are the income and relatively high-value employment.

Pro-actively engaging actors in the informal dairy sector to integrate it into the formal dairy value chain requires both appropriate changes in policy (mind-set and/or written), and developing appropriate policy implementation instruments for relevant institutions. This is necessary because whereas concerned institutions may appreciate the change needed, how to go about it is usually a bottleneck.

This project proposes to develop appropriate milk quality assurance standards and institutional approaches towards integrating informal milk markets into the formal value chains. These approaches will be piloted in the East African Community member countries first before adapting them for other countries covered by the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa.

The specific approach proposed here involves piloting a training and certification scheme as a dairy business development service. Some countries (e.g. Kenya) have made some progress in this area while others require support to enable them develop and/or adapt such instruments.

The pilot testing is being complemented by dialogue mainly through the East Africa Dairy Regulatory Authorities Council to pursue options for rationalization and harmonization of dairy policies throughout the region, learning symposia to exchange lessons and assessment of impacts of policy changes.

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