Earlier this year, the CGIAR’s Livestock research program provided additional resources to take forward work in four priority countries – Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam. The aim is to accelerate work on the most promising technologies and innovations identified in previous years, advancing their uptake and use in development.
In June, partners working on the Maziwa Zaidi dairy project in Tanzania agreed key aims and directions for the coming phase of the dairy value chain upgrading project (until the end of 2021).
Coordinated by Amos Omore of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRi), the project contributes to an inclusive and sustainable development of the Tanzania dairy value chain. Its three goals are: for smallholder women and men farmers to have reliable and consistent access to quality inputs and services that enable them to efficiently achieve high dairy productivity; for smallholder men and women farmers to have access to inclusive, reliable, well-coordinated, and efficient dairy products marketing arrangement that will improve household income and livelihoods; and, for poor consumers to have access to quality, safe, and nutritious dairy products at affordable prices.
The business case for research to upgrade Tanzania’s smallholder dairy value chain highlights large milk productivity gaps and ongoing strong demand for milk. The previous phases of Maziwa Zaidi (2012-2017) experimented with multi-stakeholder processes involving pre-commercial dairy market hubs (DMHs) and innovation platforms (IPs) as mechanisms to upgrade the smallholder dairy value chain towards more commercial dairying. We engaged farmer groups as entry points before linking them to other value chain actors for service provision. However, this process was found to be slow and required substantial investment in capacity building for collective action by milk producers. On the other hand, building DMHs around enterprising value chain actors was a more promising entry point to create and grow linkages among value chain actors to improve access to markets, inputs, and services for producers.
Focus on agribusinesses
This phase will work with agribusinesses in the dairy value chain (including feed and fodder value chains) to promote proven dairy technologies and innovations. It will support agribusiness skills development and embed these proven dairy technologies in the portfolio of products and services that agribusinesses and agri-entrepreneurs deliver, enhancing uptake of dairy technologies and innovations. Women- and youth-led dairy agribusinesses will be targeted with business development services (BDS) and other support services to overcome barriers to entry into lucrative nodes of the dairy value chain.
The project will work with partners to capacitate agribusinesses, adopting a market systems approach that aims to scale out their business operations. This approach, also referred to as ‘markets for the poor’ (M4P), will help address critical weaknesses in dairy market development by going beyond the traditional value chain model to address the wider context in which value chains operate by emphasizing inclusive and equitable value chain upgrading options for economic growth.
Bundles of interventions
The project will promote intervention packages that bundle and combine proven genetics, health and feeds technologies within institutional arrangements that allow farmers to utilize and benefit from these bundles. Building on outputs generated from a 2017 policy forum and others, the project will test proven technologies and innovations that have the potential to be profitably leveraged by agribusinesses and partners (depending on their demand and interest). A ‘basket’ containing these technologies and innovations will be offered as options to agri-entrepreneurs, who will be encouraged to pick combination(s) of their choice. These combinations are the packages to be piloted.
To better identify the potential packages, the project very recently held a joint agribusiness forum with development partners to prioritize the existing best-bet technical and institutional innovations and supporting activities and turn them into integrated ‘packages’. Involving agripreneurs, researchers, innovators, service providers and delivery organizations, a short list of technical products for the delivery packages to be profitably leveraged by agribusiness targeting producers were identified as: Brachiaria grass (or other forage options), manure management, East coast fever vaccine, and artificial insemination. These will be delivered through capacitated agripreneurs and agribusinesses, using digital platforms for farmer profiling and e-extension, and capacity development supporting market access, safer products and effective collective action.
To deliver these, the various change agents and partners in the project will provide a custom set of associated enabling packages to the agripreneurs and agribusinesses. These will enable them to provide the services the producers need – combining technical knowhow, clean, green and gendered expertise, as well as business and soft skills necessary to be profitable.
Underpinning the packaging and delivery of these technologies and innovations by the agripreneurs and agribusinesses will be delivery/markets/platforms involving ‘agent network’ the ‘dairy farmer assistant’ models. The related approach of dairy market hubs will also be part of the delivery platforms.
It is important to emphasize that specific combinations of these ‘priority’ innovations (and others) will be customized following further engagement with the agripreneurs.
One of our assumptions is that scaling promising technologies and innovations has been inhibited by the lack of bankable business cases for more public and/or private investments. Thus, we may also evaluate the scale-readiness of some technologies in parallel to the piloting, particularly in relation to institutional and policy barriers.
The project will work in four districts in Kilimanjaro and Tanga regions, joining forces with various government, private sector, development and research partners and seeking synergies with their projects.