New action agenda for dairy development in emerging economies

May 28, 2020

Contributing to nutrition, employment and sustainability: these are the three objectives for future dairy development support in emerging economies. During the international celebration of the 20th World Milk Day, a position paper for dairy development is launched setting the future agenda for the Dutch contribution to dairy development in Africa and Asia. Wageningen Livestock Research has played a key role in developing this paper.

‘The dairy sector can play an import part in contributing to sustainable global food security,’ says lead editor of the paper Karin Andeweg from Wageningen Livestock Research. ‘We have created a new action agenda for dairy development in order to inform practitioners and policymakers on effective contributions to global food security. And it can also be of use when designing new sustainable dairy programmes.’

Three objectives

The paper is the product of a valuable collaboration between many Dutch organisations working in dairy development around the world. It’s action agenda focuses on three objectives for dairy development:

  1. Affordable, safe and nutritious diets
  2. Gainful employment and improved livelihoods
  3. A sustained agro-ecological base

A food system perspective

The paper follows the Milking to Potential discussion paper that was published in 2014, and has served as a leading strategic framework for dairy sector development in the past years. Karin Andeweg: ‘What is new is in this paper is the notion of working and thinking from a food system perspective, and how dairy development can contribute to the wider food system and food security.’

Six key points to trigger positive changes

The action agenda presents six key points that are expected to trigger a cascade of positive changes in the dairy system to realise the objectives.

  1. Contribute to affordable and nutritious diets
  2. Keep milk safe
  3. Strengthen inclusive and competitive business models
  4. Make dairy sustainable
  5. Strengthen future dairy professionals through training, education and extension
  6. Get the development, trade and investment policies right

For each leverage point, an agenda for future support and investment priorities has been formulated. Together, these form a comprehensive core agenda for all actors working in dairy development in developing and emerging economies.


The paper was iniated by the Netherlands East African Dairy Partnership (NEADAP), a consortium of SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Wageningen University & Research, Bles Dairies Consultancy and Agriterra, who have joined forces to share learnings and expertise and organize concerted action in dairy development. The action agenda for the Dutch contribution to dairy development in Africa and Asia that is presented in this paper emerged from the discussions at these events and the input from various private-sector players, practitioners and experts. It is facilitated by the Food & Business Knowledge Platform and AgriProFocus. In the course of 2020 these organisations will merge into the Netherlands Food Partnership (NFP).