Despite the crucial role dairy development plays in strengthening the economy and job creation in rural Bihar, India, milk productivity has hardly increased in decades. Recent increases in milk production have been driven by increases in the number of animals. A study at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), published in January 2016, sets out the challenges facing the sector and suggests a way forward—the establishment of a multi-stakeholder consultation forum/platform to share and discuss the nature of interventions each organization is undertaking in the dairy livestock sector.
The study by T.S. Vamsidhar Reddy and Rasheed Sulaiman found that the actors in the sector often act independently of each other, without any collaboration, particularly between those in informal and the private dairy sectors. More importantly, the smallholder dairy innovation system lacks an actor and/or a mechanism mandated to bring agencies together—share knowledge and resources—in order to engage in concerted action.
An analysis of the habits and practices of different agencies revealed several factors giving rise to the current situation. The first reason is the limited capacity for program implementation, insufficient infrastructure, skills and knowledge shortages, low morale of veterinarians, mixed perceptions of the role of the private sector, and an underestimation of the role of knowledge in enhancing productivity and income.
For more information, see ILRI policy brief 20: Smallholder dairy transformation and innovation in Bihar, India.