In developing countries the dairy sector is dominated by smallholders. For milk buyers it is often too expensive to test the milk quality at all farms, and therefore they pay the farmers according to volume instead of quality. What are, in the highland area of Peru, incentives for farmers to produce milk quality?
In developing countries the dairy sector is dominated by smallholders, contributing only a few litres of milk per day. For milk buyers it is often too expensive to test the milk quality at all farms, and therefore they pay the farmers according to volume instead of quality, or according to the quality of bulk milk originating from several farms. This leaves the farmers without individual incentive to produce quality milk. A higher milk quality is important for higher yields of milk products, a longer shelf-life and food safety. This research investigated incentives for farmers to produce milk quality, in a highland area in Peru. The dairy system was described and 83 farmers were interviewed using a questionnaire. Results have been analysed using ANOVA’s and keyword analysis.
The majority of farmers had less than 10 cows (mainly Holstein) in production, producing an average of 10L/cow/day. Farmers sell the milk to traders or to formal or informal processors. In general, problems with compositional milk quality were caused by farm management practices, whereas problems with hygienic quality were caused by transport to and practices at plant level.
Farmers were interested in improving milk quality if a quality payment system would result in a higher milk price. However, when offered veterinary services, or cheap feed, farmers were willing to accept a moderate milk price since this saves money in another way. Farmers were also very interested in training. Many farmers (36%) were afraid of seasonal price fluctuations caused by fluctuating feed availability. In the dry season, this might result in farmers wanting to change to a milk buyer paying for volume only, if that would result in more income. Lack of knowledge and resources restricted farmers from improving milk quality, even if they wanted to. If they would be able to produce a higher milk quality, milk buyers could pay a higher price since product yields per litre would increase. The question remains, however, if informal milk processors are able to support a quality payment system with frequent quality controls, training and extension services.
Student: S. Bol
Supervisors: dr ir H. Udo, prof. C. Gomez