Milking the data: Measuring milk off-take in extensive livestock systems. Experimental evidence from Niger
This article in the Food Policy journal argues that our understanding of the role of dairy production in livelihoods and nutritional outcomes is hindered by the lack of decent quality household survey data. It shows that reasonably accurate estimates via recall methods are possible, and provides a clear ranking of questionnaire design options that can inform future survey operations. While milk is an important source of cash and nutrients for many households in developing countries, data on milk off-take for human consumption are often difficult to collect in household surveys. This paper presents results from a validation exercise implemented in Niger, where alternative survey instruments based on recall methods were administered to randomly selected households, and compared to a 12-month system of physical monitoring and recording of milk production. It concludes that while there are limits to the external validity of the results, the findings are strong enough to be already incorporated in future questionnaire design by National Statistical Office and researchers.