Do Dairy Market Hubs improve smallholder farmers’ income? The case of dairy farmers in the Tanga and Morogoro regions of Tanzania
This paper in the Agrekon journal examines the effect of dairy market hubs (DMHs) on smallholder farmers’ income. The dairy industry has great potential to improve living standards for the poor in Tanzania and more so for smallholder farmers who account for the largest share of milk consumed nationally. To increase production efficiency and overall output, the Government of Tanzania and its development partners are promoting DMHs to enhance access to milk markets, inputs and services. However, there is limited empirical evidence on the degree to which these potential benefits translate into real benefits in dairy production and income, particularly for smallholder farmers. Using primary data collected from 461 smallholder dairy farmers in four districts in two regions of Tanzania (Tanga and Morogoro) the study employs quasi-experimental methods combining propensity score matching and difference-in-difference (DD) to estimate treatment effects. The results indicate that participation in DMHs increased household dairy income by 4.07 percentage points on average for the period 2014 to 2016. Participation is encouraged by group membership, land owned and quantity of milk sold. It relates negatively with milk price and negatively, though weakly, with age. These results suggest that it would be productive to support livestock producer groups across all potential dairy areas to move towards forming DMHs. The article discusses specific actions that could facilitate the move for livestock producer gruops to DMHs.