Photo K. Dhanji/ILRI

Yield gap analyses to estimate attainable bovine milk yields and evaluate options to increase production in Ethiopia and India

Livestock provides an important source of income and nourishment for around one billion rural households worldwide. Demand for livestock food products is increasing, especially in developing countries, and there are opportunities to increase production to meet local demand and increase farm incomes. Estimating the scale of livestock yield gaps and better understanding factors limiting current production will help to define the technological and investment needs in each livestock sector. The aim of this paper is to quantify livestock yield gaps and evaluate opportunities to increase dairy production in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, using case studies from Ethiopia and India. We combined three different methods in our approach. Benchmarking and a frontier analysis were used to estimate attainable milk yields based on survey data. Household modelling was then used to simulate the effects of various interventions on dairy production and income. We tested interventions based on improved livestock nutrition and genetics in the extensive lowland grazing zone and highland mixed crop-livestock zones of Ethiopia, and the intensive irrigated and rainfed zones of India. Our analyses indicate that there are considerable yield gaps for dairy production in both countries, and opportunities to increase production using the interventions tested. In some cases, combined interventions could increase production past currently attainable livestock yields.