Market-linked innovation for dairy development in Ethiopia

As part of an international consortium, CDI organised an innovation network of stakeholders involved in the development of the dairy sector, and assisted capacity development through learning and innovation processes.

Centre for Development Innovation (CDI), Wageningen UR part of a consortium implementing the Market-linked Innovation for Dairy Development (MIDD) programme. This Netherlands Embassy supported programme aims at dairy value chain development in Ethiopian regions where dairy plays an important role. MIDD is divided into two phases: a pre-programme phase (2011-2012) and an implementation phase (2012-2016). CDI is involved in, amongst others, selection of milk sheds for value chain development, stakeholder consultations, and identification of Ethiopian partners.

Good quality dairy products

Both public and private sector recognise that due to population growth, economic growth, and a high urbanisation rate in Ethiopia, the demand for good quality dairy products is increasing. Foreign as well as local companies are eager to invest in dairy production. MIDD intends to assist the dairy sector gear up for this rising demand. Besides its nutritious value, dairy production is considered an effective activity for smallholders to become involved in commercial farming. Experience in several countries shows that dairy development has the potential to contribute to rural development, food security and import substitution.

National dairy forum

The consortium spearheaded the organisation of the National Dairy Forum in November 2010. This forum recognised that dairy is a promising sector, but also that successful sector development requires a better enabling environment, technical and institutional innovations in the dairy chain, and capacity building. Public and private consortium partners include Wageningen UR Livestock Research, LEI, SNV Ethiopia, Ethiopian universities and research institutes, and of course value chain actors. Dutch companies and knowledge institutes are viewed as key partners for providing expertise and developing business relations for further development of the Ethiopian dairy sector.

Innovation networks

CDI’s expertise in innovation networks is used to establish knowledge and innovation networks at national and sector level and in regions where dairy plays an important role. In the milk sheds these networks will help dairy producers, input & service suppliers, and processors to link up with policy makers and research & extension institutes, to address key issues in value chain development. A national level network will help to address issues that require a broader approach than can be achieved at milk shed level, like for example a breeding policy or milk quality assurance issues. Multi-stakeholder approaches for innovation and learning as well as capacity development play key roles in these networks.