International Dairy Conference 2010

Bangladesh Agricultural University

Mymensingh, BANGLADESH


Smallholder dairy farming is proving to be the means of generating livelihoods for millions of people in many countries in Asia and Africa and a few countries of South America. Dairying has the potential to not only increase family income but also generate employment opportunities, both on farm and off farm, and improve human nutrition. In Asia, smallholder dairy farming has led many countries to be self sufficient in milk and dairy products.  By practicing smallholder dairying, India has become the largest milk producing country in the world. Buffaloes are proving equally good if not better dairy animals compared with cattle in India.  However, this type of success has not yet been achieved in India's close neighbour like Bangladesh. The reason may be that an effective common forum has not been established between national government agriculture policy makers, dairy industry, agricultural universities, dairy farmers and service and input providers to share their experiences and to identify the challenges and opportunities for the industry.

Bangladesh has the largest human population density in the world and most of its population is rural, with per capita income being among the lowest in the world. This population is continually growing, increasing the demand for food, including animal products.  Agriculture has been evolving in an attempt to meet this demand.  The purpose of rearing cattle has been shifting from their primary utilisation as draft animals to milk and meat producing animals for human consumption. Bangladesh has the potential to expand its dairy industry several times in comparison to its present state. This unrealized potential reflects a clear need to share knowledge and wisdom from the people involved in dairying all over the world.

The smallholder dairy sector is part of a global industry. Smallholder dairy development can be successful under a wide range of situations, but only if the approach is tailored to the prevailing circumstances. It is vital to consider the key features of the enabling environment such as: transport infrastructure, electricity and water supply, financial services, animal health services and husbandry practices, production systems, extension, telecommunications, the regulatory environment, institutional support, market linkages, and many other factors. This point is related to the need to share regional and international experiences, knowledge and wisdom. An International Dairy Conference in Bangladesh would benefit the developing countries in particular and the global dairy industry in general.