Over the years the dairy sector in Bangladesh has faced challenges. According to The World Bank 62% of the population live in rural areas and Department of Livestock Services reports there are 1.4 million dairy farms with an average herd size of 1-3 cows, and many lack access to formal markets to meet a growing demand. In 1990, policy was introduced to promote the local agriculture production and benefit smallholder dairy farmers. There has been a significant improvement over the years through setting up milk collection infrastructure, capacity development, and training services. According to the IFCN, Bangladesh is now ranked 25th in the world in milk production with 91% self-sufficiency. In the past 10 years, milk production has increased by 18% and milk consumption has increased by 13%.
To support the development of a more self-sufficient dairy sector, Tetra Pak customer and dairy processor PRAN Dairy with the support from Tetra Pak and Tetra Laval Food for Development, introduced the Dairy Hub model. Our Dairy Hub model links smallholder farmers to a dedicated dairy processor in a selected area, and we provide support in the form of “hands-on” training and practical knowledge transfer. By providing farmers training services and setting up appropriate cooling infrastructure and technology, the farm’s productivity and supply of locally produced quality milk will increase. As a result, smallholder farmers can improve their livelihoods, have access to formal market reducing food loss, and the dairy processors can establish a more stable supply of milk.
In 2011 PRAN Dairy started up the first two Dairy Hubs together with Tetra Pak and Tetra Laval Food for Development covering 4,000 smallholder farmers. PRAN Dairy led the Dairy Hub operations and we supported by providing technical training on farm management and best practices to PRAN Dairy’s extension services staff and the smallholder farmers.
Impact data from the first Dairy Hub in Chatmohar shows great results with an average milk yield increase per cow /day with 143% from 4.45 litres to 10.8 liters. +1,950% from 2,000 litres to 41,000 litres in increased milk collection and an average income increase of 144% from USD 100 to USD 244 per smallholder farmer and month.
To scale up the number of Dairy Hubs and after seeing the projects’ positive early results, we developed a partnership with SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) and UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) with the purpose of expanding the reach of the training to more smallholder farmers and provide them access to market. DeLaval’s technology was used to set up milk collection and cooling infrastructure in new areas to improve the quality of the milk.
As a result of the cooperation, the Dairy Hub Academy was established in 2013 to train farmers and experts involved in developing smallholder milk production to cascaded the knowledge to a wider audience of technical staff and relevant stakeholders, thus supporting the sector development in the country. Today, PRAN Dairy has a network of five Dairy Hubs with more than 12,000 farmers registered as milk suppliers. The average daily milk production/cow has increased dramatically and increased in the number of farmers moving from producing milk for family consumption to commercial milk production as a source of income.
After a decade of continuous progress, PRAN Dairy is now scaling up by introducing Dairy Hub number six in a new area in South Bengal, enrolling an additional 7,500 smallholders, where Tetra Laval Food for Development dairy experts will continue to train the farmers. The training programme has innovated and now offers a combination of hands-on trainings together with online trainings.
By 2024, PRAN Dairy intends to train around 7,500 farmers from the nearby villages of the Dairy Hub number six. The targets are to increase milk production by 25% and to increase gross income of farmers by 20% annually. The total milk collection is expected to grow from the current average levels of 128,000 to approximately 250,000 litres / day in the next three years in all the Dairy Hubs combined. As demand for fresh milk continues to increase PRAN Dairy is committed to develop more hubs in Bangladesh.
“Our mission is to promote a modern sustainable dairy industry in Bangladesh and to decrease rural poverty and also to fight nutritional deficiency. We are committed to encouraging smallholder dairy farmers to produce quality milk in a cost-efficient way and to be profitable in their business and want to play a role in turning Bangladesh from a milk sufficient country improving food security and nutrition and are very pleased to work in collaboration with Tetra Pak, Tetra Laval Food for Development and DeLaval in this very important endeavor”, explains Mr. Muniruzzaman, Executive Director of PRAN Dairy.
“Our vision, “We commit to making food safe and available, everywhere”, is what drives our activities supporting our customers so that consumers can have access to safe nutrition and high-quality milk and project exemplifies our support throughout the value chain,” says Ashutosh Manohar Managing Director South Asia Markets, Tetra Pak.
“We are proud to continue supporting Pran Dairy with technical assistance so they can have a more stable supply of quality milk and help smallholder farmers have access to a formal market and increased income, says Rafael Fábrega, Director, Tetra Laval Food for Development.”