Characteristics and economic viability of milk production in the smallholder farming systems in The Gambia
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Agricultural Systems;85(1): 42-58
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/30001
Domestic milk production has been for a long time hindered by many factors including lack of interest from decision makers, distorted economic policy and biotechnical constraints. For the last 20 years, many developing countries have been attempting to develop the domestic milk production sector. However, research on the basic realities and the viability status of enterprises within this sector remain largely unproved in many developing countries. This study focuses on the characteristic of smallholder milk producers in The Gambia. Data were collected from 90 smallholder farm households to characterise milk producers and evaluate the profitability and viability status of this activity. Based on current typology of farms and gross margin analyses at farm level, the study identified two resource-based types of smallholder farms. The current milk production system is surely viable. Constraints to increased productivity include lack of improved technology at farm level and weak institutional support. Despite the low viability status, it is shown that milk production generates reliable incomes, which could be a departure for most farmers to intensify farming systems, particularly in areas where no loan schemes exist for purchasing agricultural inputs.