In the study we examined the relationship between market quality and basic feeding and breeding practices at farm level. Our study countries differ greatly in terms of their smallholder dairy production.
India has a well-developed smallholder dairy sector while in Ethiopia the smallholder dairy industry has remained relatively undeveloped despite decades of development effort.
Our study showed that despite the difference in dairy production between the countries, average diet composition was relatively similar in India and Ethiopia with crop residues forming the major share of the diet. Concentrate feeding tended to be more prominent in high market quality sites.
Herd composition changed with market quality with more dairy (exotic) cross-bred animals in high market quality sites in both India and Ethiopia. Cross-bred animals were generally more prominent in India than Ethiopia. Herd performance within breed did not change a great deal along the market quality gradient.
The study indicates that the first constraint to intensification of dairy production in Ethiopia is the genetic quality of the herd. There is less scope for improved AI provision in India since the cross-bred herd is mainly serviced by AI already. However, as for Ethiopia, there is considerable scope for closing yield gaps in India through improved feed use and supply.
Results strongly show that well developed markets with good procurement arrangements are key for sustainable dairy intensification.