Assessing and Managing Intensification in Smallholder Dairy Systems for Food and Nutrition Security in Sub-Saharan Africa
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Smallholder farmers play an important part in the dairy value chain in most countries in Sub- Saharan Africa. Over the past two decades, three technological approaches have been used. First, applying agricultural ecological processes (ecological intensification), the other, utilising modern livestock breeding (genetic intensification), and socio-economic intensification. In terms of ecological intensification, some of strategies that have been applied are, continuous housing of cows applying a cut-and-carry feeding system, introduction of purpose-bred forages and pastures, and the introduction of agro-forestry within the dairy systems. Genetic intensification strategies have included; importation of the world-renown dairy breeds such as Holstein Friesian (HF) and Jerseys, crossbreeding of the indigenous breeds with HF with the aim of upgrading towards HF. Training and capacity building activities to create sustainable livelihoods have been initiated to not only impart farming and technological practices of animal husbandry but also to enhance appropriate leadership and corporative-building skills that would create and support an enabling environment for sustainability. These improvements and initiatives in the service delivery have been championed by either the national governments, or development partner 15 institutions and non-governmental organisations through different programmes and projects. Challenges of intensification include matching management to genetic potential of imported and crossbred improved dairy breeds, ensuring low post-harvest losses, proper utilization, and environmental impact challenges. Using examples from Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, this paper examines the management and assessment approaches used in fostering smallholder dairy development strategies and dairy’s contribution to sustainable livelihoods in the face of intensification.
- Clinical Studies