More Milk: Making the most of milk | Grantee information

Collaborating institutions
International Livestock Research Institute
International Food Policy Research Institute
International Institute for Environment and Development
Emory University
Sokoine University of Agriculture
Dates: 1 October 2016 - 30 September 2021
Value: $4,088,052
Country: Kenya, Tanzania, India, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Nigeria
Primary research question: What interventions centered on sustainable and scalable improvements to animal agricultural production and capture have the greatest potential to effectively reduce anemia among WRA, and via which principal pathways?
Project summary

The project aims to generate research evidence on how informal milk markets can be leveraged to improve nutrition and health, especially in peri-urban settings. The overall objective of the project is to improve child health and nutrition outcomes through milk consumption. The project will evaluate the potential of milk markets and dairy development interventions to contribute to health and nutrition outcomes by:

  • assessing how markets and policies influence the quantity and safety of milk consumed in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania;
  • assessing the health and nutrition benefits of a successfully piloted informal dairy sector intervention (a trader training, certification and marketing scheme), through a randomized control trial in Nairobi;
  • assessing the potential reach of the dairy trader training and certification intervention, as well as bridges and barriers to scale and sustainability through surveys in India, Kenya and Tanzania;
  • assessing the drivers of milk consumption in dairy farming households in rural Kenya and Tanzania and developing a social behaviour change communication strategy for milk consumption; and
  • scoping priority areas for food safety investments with a focus on Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Nigeria.

The study uses quantitative and qualitative research methods including individual surveys (epidemiology, economic and nutrition assessment tools), food sampling ad laboratory analysis, key informant interviews and focus group discussions among others. The project will integrate a gender lens across these components. It will focus on understanding the ways in which women’s empowerment can be leveraged to enhance milk quality and household nutrition. In addition, and as the major component of the project, a randomized control trial will be conducted to gather scientific evidence on the capacity of a training, certification and marketing scheme to improve health and nutrition outcomes for children living in low-income peri-urban settlements in Nairobi. The intervention will build on the Smallholder Dairy Project (1997–2005) training and certification scheme and have the following components:

  • Training: traders will be trained by accredited business development service providers (private extension agents) on milk safety and quality, and value addition. The training will respond to gender constraints and opportunities identified through a study preceding the training. The empowerment effect of the training on the traders will be assessed through a targeted index.
  • Certification: upon completion of the training, traders will be given publicly displayable certificates to indicate their participation in the scheme.
  • Marketing: traders will be given additional information on how to optimize milk marketing, with an emphasis on the health and nutrition benefits of hygienic milk for young children.

Further research in three different countries will explore policy and market factors that can enable or constraint the scale and sustainability of this intervention.

Project progress
The project is in its third year. Over the first two years the research has generated data that helps us understand food consumption habits of low-income people in peri-urban Nairobi, and how informal dairy markets contribute to diets. We have also conducted qualitative research among consumers and dairy vendors in the informal sector to characterize the determinants of food choices and business operating practices, and the gendered dimensions of it. The project has also generated a report presenting food safety investment recommendations for African countries and has drafted guidelines on the development of Behaviour Change Communication Strategies for dairy farming households in rural Africa. The third year of the project will see the launch of the randomized control trial in Nairobi. 
Contact information
Delia Grace Randolph -
Silvia Alonso -