Adapting inclusive business support models to quality control systems along dairy chains in East Africa

Development of tools to assess bottlenecks in production of safe and high quality dairy products in the African context.

The consumption of dairy products is estimated to be growing at an average of 6% per annum and production is expected to increase to augment the growing demands in East Africa. However, dairy development across the East African region is not uniformed. Kenya’s dairy sector development is more advanced in terms of production of milk and organization of the sector than in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.  In Tanzania, the dairy sector is still evolving and requires interventions to boost its capacity and strengthen the whole dairy chain. More so, because of the vulnerable nature of milk to microbial and chemical contamination. Current concern for safe and quality dairy products is exacerbated by a huge informal production of milk often without any form of heat treatment. As a result, opportunities for foodborne pathogen contamination and persistence along the dairy chain exist. Furthermore, aflatoxin and antibiotic residues in  milk and milk products still remain a safety challenge along the chain. In addition, evidence show that locally manufactured milk products such as pasteurized milk, ultra-high treated milk, cultured milk and raw liquid milk are of poor and inconsistent quality. Meanwhile, current quality control systems are based on basic technology particularly along informal dairy chains. In addition, small scale processing establishments lack established HACCP-based food safety management systems and their performance is often unsatisfactory in small and large-scale dairy processing establishments. Furthermore, regulatory enforcement is limited particularly in informal dairy chains. Consequently, milk and milk product safety cannot always be guaranteed.

Current interventions in dairy chains revolve around inclusive approaches that integrate poor local actors through effective and efficient business support models involving dairy companies, local businesses, governments and non-governmental organizations. Different business models are applied. For instance, business model support may involve the provision of training to farmers, technical assistance such as provision of antibiotics,  and infrastructure developments such as provision of milk collection centers. However, questions exist about the extent these supports have been able to reach intended beneficiaries and whether these models are truly inclusive of women and youth. Furthermore, understanding how business models can fit current quality control systems for improved milk quality and inclusiveness requires research. The prevailing country context can pose risks which may need to be circumvented for successful operation of new inclusive business models. However, this has not been fully explored in East Africa dairy chains.

The overall aim of my PhD project is to understand how business support models relate to quality control in specific country context, in order to identify critical success factors for inclusive business support models and improved milk quality along dairy chains in East Africa.

Techno-managerial research approach will be used to understand dairy chain in Tanzania in relation to other dairy chains in the East Africa region.