The demand for safe and nutritious dairy products in developing countries is rising rapidly, due to an increase in both urban populations and incomes. This demand is currently met through imports. Professionalising local value chains offers opportunities to fulfil this demand.

A low level of skills, a lack of quality inputs and extension services result in low productivities. Insufficient cold storage and handling techniques, with poor logistics, hamper the inclusion of small and medium sized farmers in supply chains. These constraints hamper the sector’s ability to meet the increasing domestic demand. Greenhouse gas emissions by cattle and adherence to food safety standards are two additional concerns for the sector.

Our approach

We work at the forefront of the ‘aid to trade’ agenda. By leveraging local and Dutch dairy expertise, we build competitive value chains and stimulate sustainable development. Ultimately we seek to achieve sector transformation.
Focusing on local ownership and emphasising market-based solutions, SNV supports local partners to develop the necessary infrastructure and market-based services to develop an inclusive and commercially viable dairy sector that will increase actors’ profits. We work with processors to improve their efficiency and grow their supply chain, connect commercial markets with farmers, increase production, improve the quality and availability of input supplies and services, and accelerate investments. At the same time we work with governments and stakeholders to create an enabling environment and a value chain governance that will realise sustainable and scalable results.

SNV’s dairy value chain approach consists of the following elements:

  • Market systems development: we analyse local challenges and identify opportunities to grow the value chain. We support producers, suppliers, processors and authorities to jointly prioritise bottlenecks in the value chain, agree on interventions and allocate investments.
  • Public Private Partnerships: SNV works in public-private partnerships to address bottlenecks and develop best practices. These partnerships are also vehicles for change by scaling-up innovative solutions and improving value chain governance;
  • Inclusive Business: we work with several value chain partners. We stimulate processors to jointly invest in order to overcome constraints in the dairy sector. We manage funds with matching grants for companies that come up with innovations that stimulate inclusive growth. We transform producer groups to become more entrepreneurial and ensure that they are included in value chain development;
  • Smart extension services: market-based (i.e. paid) extension services help professionalise the value chain. We develop Farmer Field Schools and model farms (i.e. ‘seeing is believing’) for practical training. We support the provision of mobile phone based extension services and market price information;
  • Sustainable intensification: we increase farmers’ climate change resilience and reduce their resourceand the carbon-intensity, by improving their efficiency and productivity;
  • Financing: access to finance is crucial to leverage increased production and efficiency, resulting in accelerated sector growth. SNV links producers, producer organisations, service providers and processors, to banks and other financial institutions; W

In addition to professionalising value chains and grow profits, our projects improve consumers’ dietary behaviour, address gender imbalances, and create employment opportunities for young people, through our dedicated methodologies - Sustainable Nutrition for All (SN4A), Balancing Benefits, and Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) respectively.


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