Field based research on inclusive dairy business models in East Africa

Netherlands East African Dairy Partnership (NEADAP) brings together relevant dairy actors in East Africa around the key themes of milk quality, forage and inclusive business models. It aims to promote uptake of interventions and good practices by East African and Dutch stakeholders, and to generate evidence-based recommendations for Dutch and East African policy development for effective support of dairy development.
The project is a consortium of SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Wageningen University & Research (WUR), Bles Dairies Consultancy BV (formerly The Friesian) and Agriterra. NEADAP is funded by the Embassy of The Kingdom of the Netherlands in Uganda with an overall budget of € 750,000.

The  project is a logical follow-up of the inter-agency donor coordination group (IADG) effort that resulted in the report

White gold: Opportunities for dairy sector development in East Africa (2014)

In July 2017, a round table with all relevant Dutch stakeholders – organized by NABC – singled out four of these themes as being relevant for a Netherlands-led regional Dairy East Africa project:
1. Milk Quality
2. Forage
3. Inclusive business models
4. Networking and influencing.

Final approval of the project was obtained on the 8th of  November 2018.
NEADAP is unique in its structure and vision as it proposes to galvanise the experience from a significant number of dairy projects, in order to identify the challenges and priorities in developing the dairy sector in the region. The focus countries are Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, with a potential inclusion of Rwanda and Tanzania for learning and knowledge sharing. With a closing date of December 2019 the project has started with an inception phase until the end of 2018. 

For the theme Inclusive Business Models, Agriterra (www. and WUR/ CDI will jointly prepare and implement the research work in Kenya and Uganda (and maybe Ethiopia) . A detailed description of this theme is attached as an Annex.

Inclusive Business models and the research

Definition: An inclusive dairy business model is a commercially viable model that benefits dairy small holders or low-income communities by including them in the dairy value chain on the demand side as clients and consumers, and/or on the supply side as producers, entrepreneurs or employees in a sustainable way.

Inclusiveness refers to the inclusion of less advantaged groups such as small holder farmers, youth and women. In this research main focus will be on inclusion of small holders and the youth, being the future workforce, land users and consumers.

The main objective of this research project is to capture field based experiences and best practices on how small holder farmers including youth can be best included in the dairy value chain; identify current trends and opportunities in inclusive business models; and identify the most potential models for upscaling in the future.

Research topics can be (yet to be further defined):

  • Context and external factors that influence the dairy sector/ dairy value chain
  • Motivation of small holders to produce for the market and how to imrove their production significantly?
  • Inclusive service delivery models and potential for upscaling
  • Etc.

Internship Assignment

Based upon the IBM definition, a draft research framework is currently being developed by WUR to conduct a field based research in order to collect on the ground data and experiences. Key questions that will be addressed in the research are:

What are the main features of inclusive business models or what are the elements of Inclusive Business Models (IBM’s)?

  • What are the core aspects/topics/issues?
  • What are the trends and challenges encountered?
  • Are professionalization and a business approach part of these models, or not?
  • How do we deal with the not-included ones?
  • What actors are involved in IBM’s and what are their roles?
  • Which type of farmers are participating in IBM’s, both in cooperative and non-cooperative IBM’s? What are reasons/motivations for different actors to participate in inclusive business models?

This internship focuses on conducting the field research in Kenya and Uganda. The research framework and data processing methods will be designed by WUR, but the students will be closely involved in the fine tuning of the research approach, so they feel ownership and fully understand the approach.

Focus is on comparing farmers dairy cooperatives; farmer led businesses and private businesses that have gone from bulking to processing, that are all sourcing from smallholders. Specific attention will be paid to the (potential) role of youth in the inclusive business model.

The two recruited students from WUR will conduct a field study in Uganda and Kenya, where the research will take place with pre identified and selected stakeholders, using the specifically designed research tools accordingly. In each country a national student will accompany the interns in order to bridge cultural or context gaps and ensure smooth and safe communication within the country. The expected result of the internship is a sound research report which describes the research plan, data collection, data analysis, conclusions and recommendations. The total period for this internship is 16 weeks, of which 1 month preparation in Wageningen, and 2 to 2.5 month field work in Africa and 2 weeks data analysis in Wageningen.

Preferred candidates

Two BSc or Msc students from WUR, with a background in or affinity with  (agricultural) business management. A sincere interest in or experience with the dairy sector or dairy farming systems (in Africa) is an advantage but not a prerequisite.

The selected candidates have a pro-active attitude, curious to understand other cultures and ways of living; are willing to travel extensively and work rather independently; have good communication skills and like to work in an international and /or rural environment and fluent in English.

Duration of the internship

The time frame of the internship will be around 4 month in the period of March-June 2019 (flexibility possible)


  • Agriterra will cover the costs of the international flight, visa costs and if needed vaccinations. Research related costs such as local (public) transport will be reimbursed. Housing and living allowances are not provided.
  • Agriterra has country offices in the 2  mentioned countries, and local Agriterra staff will provide the agreed upon support to the interns.
  • The interns will report to Agriterra and work very closely together with researchers from WUR.

NOTE: This is an internship and the assignment does not qualify for a thesis

Are you interested?

Are you interested in this position and do you fit the profile? Apply before 31 January 2019, with a short motivation letter and curriculum vitae, by sending an email to  to the attention of  Mr. Cees van Rij, manager Agri advice Agriterra