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Project in Rwanda

Challenges of Implementing Modern Milk Quality Standards in Developing Countries: Case of Rwanda

Timeframe: July 2019 - June 2021

Funding: USAID

Principal investigator (PI) and lead institution

Anselme Shyaka, University of Rwanda

Co-PI and collaborator institutions

Project Plan

This project aims to collect data on the informal milk sector in Rwanda as well as consumer preferences. Data collected on the informal milk sector will be compared to previous data on the formal milk sector and incorporated into an existing model of the milk sector in Rwanda to produce policy recommendations.

Despite formalization efforts, the informal sector is still an important part of the dairy sector in Rwanda. Improved understanding of its magnitude and incorporation of the findings in mathematical models for the Rwanda milk sector will allow for better projections of the milk supply and improve overall milk quality by addressing the bottlenecks. This will result in more evidence-based dairy sector policies and will improve milk safety and, thus, human nutrition through reducing risks of foodborne illness.

Objectives and Achievements

  • Compile evidence on actors in the informal dairy sector related to milk quality and milk production: The compilation of existing literature related to informal dairy subsector in Rwanda in terms of milk quality and overall milk production was initiated in Q4 FY 2019. In FY 2020, data on informal milk market actors will be collected through mixed methods based on the ILRI value chain assessment toolkit. Methods include focus group discussions to elicit consumer preferences and decision-making patterns on milk and milk products, and key informant interviews with value chain actors to understand their business performance and drivers.
  • Assess household milk consumption, consumption behavior and preferences: The project will use a consumer survey to collect data on 1) household milk production, purchase and consumption, 2) timing of peak and low periods for milk production, purchase and consumption, 3) importance of milk quality attributes for consumers, 4) knowledge about product certification, and 5) changes in purchase or consumption levels based on milk prices in the formal and informal sector. The survey will cover both men and women respondents from each household to examine potential gender-differentiated preferences and to understand the role of women in household behavior preferences regarding milk quality.
  • Evaluate microbiological milk quality attributes: At each node of the informal milk value chain the project will collect milk samples, which will undergo microbiological and physicochemical analyses. Factors that will be analyzed include total mesophilic count, total coliforms, Staphylococcus aureus, somatic cell count, density, and acidity among others. The results obtained from these analyses will be compared with previous results from the formal milk sector.
  • Expand the systems dynamic model to include informal milk marketing: Using the data collected on milk actors for parameterization, the project will expand the systems dynamic model (SDM) at ILRI to incorporate the informal milk sector including milk producers, collectors, traders, retailers, processors and consumers. The SDM will then be used to assess the distribution of costs and benefits accruing to the various nodes of the value chain in both the informal and formal sector. This information can help to inform policy makers on best practices for upgrading the milk sector in Rwanda.

Capacity Building

Students (Bachelor’s and Master’s level) will be recruited from the University of Rwanda’s (UR) programs in Food Science and Technology, Rural Development and Agricultural Economics Department. The students will participate in data collection activities as well as in laboratory analysis. The students will be invited to stakeholder meetings to expose them to how science-based evidence is communicated to various stakeholders and policymakers to facilitate informed decision-making.

More Information

 October 2020 research update SHYAKA VGM (Virtual General Meeting)

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems is part of Feed the Future

This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Resilience, Environment and Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation OPP#060115.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.