The majority of smallholders in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa who raise both crops and livestock keep dairy animals.
Milk is an important commodity in both India and Tanzania, and rising demand, especially in the cities, is an opportunity for farmers to intensify their production. In both countries, many poor livestock keepers produce milk, and a variety of dairy production systems exist. But the lack of sufficient high-quality feed is a key constraint for the sustainable improvement of milk yields and smallholders’ incomes.
In Tanzania, many farmers face feed shortages and poor feed quality. Production is low: 5–10 litres/day for improved dairy cows, and only 1–2 litre/day for zebu cows.
In India, average milk yields are also far below their potential and the national average milk yield is 3.6 litres/cow/day. Because the availability of the main feeds, natural grass and other forages depends on rainfall, milk production is strongly seasonal, especially in Tanzania. Such problems are usually addressed by promoting improved feed technologies, but this has rarely been successful and uptake is low, so new approaches are needed.
This report shares results and lessons on productivity-enhancing feed interventions developed through MilkIT, a project to promote milk production in India and Tanzania.