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«FAO ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND HEALTH paper ADDING VALUE TO LIVESTOCK DIVERSITY Marketing to promote local breeds and improve livelihoods Cover ...»

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ISSN 0254-6019





Marketing to promote local breeds and improve livelihoods

Cover photographs:

Left image: Wool drying (Shramik Kala, India) – Ilse Köhler-Rollefson

Centre image: Camels with milk churn (Tiviski, Mauritania) – Omar Abeiderrahmane Right image: Bactrian camel herder (Gobi camel wool, Mongolia) – Ilse Köhler-Rollefson





Marketing to promote local breeds and improve livelihoods


Evelyn Mathias, LPP and LIFE Network

Overall Editor:

Paul Mundy, LPP Published by






Rome, 2010 Recommended Citation LPP, LIFE Network, IUCN–WISP and FAO. 2010. Adding value to livestock diversity – Marketing to promote local breeds and improve livelihoods. FAO Animal Production and Health Paper. No. 168. Rome.

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or of the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development or of the International Union for Conservation of Nature concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers, whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended by FAO, LPP or IUCN in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of FAO, LPP or IUCN.

ISBN 978-92-5-106453-5 All rights reserved. Reproduction and dissemination of material in this information product for educational or other non-commercial purposes are authorized without any prior written permission from the copyright holders provided the source is fully acknowledged. Reproduction of material in this information product for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holders.

Applications for such permission should be addressed to:

Chief Publishing Policy and Support Branch Office of Knowledge, Research and Extension FAO Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy

or by e-mail to:

copyright@fao.org © LPP and IUCN, 2010 Contents

–  –  –

Acknowledgements The writeshop that formed the basis of this book was co-organized by the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development, the LIFE (Local Livestock for Empowerment) Network, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature–World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism (IUCN–WISP) with the support of the Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG).

We wish to thank all writeshop participants and all those involved in the preparations (see List of contributors).

Special thanks are due to:

Ilse Köhler-Rollefson (LPP) for providing the stimulus to this project and valuable inputs.

Evelyn Mathias (LPP) for coordinating the project and writeshop.

Sabine Poth (LPP) for coordinating the travel arrangements of writeshop participants and administrative support.

Jonathan Davies (IUCN–WISP) for inputs during the preparations for this workshop and detailed comments on the final draft.

Paul Mundy (LPP), Nikola Rass (then IUCN–WISP) and Carol Kerven (Odessa Centre) for their editorial work during the writeshop.

Getachew Gebru (PARIMA) for facilitation.

Paul Mundy for compiling and editing the final text.

Noel Oettle and Karen Goldberg (EMG) and Amiene van der Merve (Wanderwomen) for logistic support.

Meg Jordi for artwork.

Florian Bloechliger of Chartfield Guesthouse and his team for making us feel at home in Kalk Bay.

Beate Scherf (FAO) for detailed comments on the final draft and support in publishing this book.

Claudia Ciarlatini (FAO) for the layout and design.

Special thanks go to the donors of this project and the activities leading to it (in alphabetical order):

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

–  –  –

List of contributors Authors who did not attend the writeshop are marked with *. See the Participants’ profiles for contact details of the writeshop participants.

–  –  –

Executive summary Throughout the world and over centuries, small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists have developed animal breeds that are well suited to their local conditions. These breeds are hardy and disease-resistant; they can survive on little water and scant vegetation. They can continue producing meat and milk in areas where modern, imported breeds succumb without expensive housing, feed and veterinary care. They enable people to earn a living in otherwise inhospitable areas, and embody valuable genetics for future breeding efforts.

Nevertheless, these breeds are in danger of disappearing, pushed out by modern production techniques and out-competed by exotic breeds. Finding niche markets for their products is one possible way of ensuring the survival of these breeds, and enabling the people who keep them to earn more from their existing lifestyle.

EIGHT CASES This book describes eight cases from Africa, Asia and Latin America where outside interventions have attempted to develop markets for specialty products from local breeds. The cases include wool, cashmere, meat, hides, milk and dairy products, from dromedaries, Bactrian camels, sheep and goats. The countries represented are Argentina, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Mongolia, Somalia and South Africa. Some of the initiatives targeted urban markets within the country; others were aimed at the export market.

The case from India features wool from the Deccani sheep, a brown-wooled breed native to the Deccan Plateau of southern India. Shramik Kala, a federation of self-help groups, buys Deccani wool, weaves it into a range of attractive bags and other handicrafts, then sells them to Europe, Japan and the United States, as well as within India. Shramik Kala developed this new value chain when the previous market, blankets for use by the army and police, collapsed.

The case from Kyrgyzstan deals with cashmere from local goats in the Pamir mountains. Currently the goat herders produce low-value, whole fleeces, which they sell to buyers from China. The Odessa Centre and the Kyrgyz Cashmere Producers’ Association are exploring ways for goat keepers to comb out the valuable, fine cashmere and sell it separately to a new group of buyers from Europe and Japan.

Bactrian camels in southern Mongolia also produce an under-valued product – wool.

A group of volunteers, along with the New Zealand Nature Institute, is organizing local women to spin the wool into yarn and to export it to the United States, where it is sold to hobby knitters.

The first of the two Argentina cases also deals with wool. The Linca sheep breed is raised by the Mapuche people in the foothills of the Andes in Patagonia. There is little demand for its coloured wool, so flocks of Linca have been declining. Aided by an NGO, the government and a research institute, a network of women has formed a community sales outlet, the Mercado de la Estepa “Quimey Piuke”, to sell ponchos and other traditional items made from the Linca wool.

x In the rural Eastern Cape province of South Africa, the government has established an abattoir and tannery to slaughter and process the region’s native goats. This cooperativerun factory produces meat, sausages and burgers, as well as leather cushions and other handicrafts. It sells the meat products to the Muslim community in nearby towns, and the handicrafts through specialist stores throughout South Africa.

The second case from Argentina also deals with goat meat. A group of local institutions in Neuquén province, in Patagonia, has applied for a Protected Domain of Origin designation for the meat of the local Criollo goat breed. This meat is marketed to urban consumers in Neuquén and nearby provinces.

The final two cases focus on milk from dromedaries. In Mauritania, the Tiviski dairy is a private company that buys milk from pastoralist herders in the south of the country, chills it and transports it to its dairy in Nouakchott, the capital. There it produces high-quality pasteurized milk, as well as other dairy products. Tiviski has invented camel cheese, and is trying to get regulatory approval to export this to the European Union, a huge potential market.

In Somalia, our case paints the picture of a marketing system for dromedary milk that is run by a loose network of female traders. Despite the lack of any central organization, this network collects milk from pastoralist encampments in the interior of Puntland, in northeastern Somalia, transports it to Boosaso, a town on the coast, and sells it uncooled

and untreated at markets there. Attempts to improve this chain have had mixed success:

low-budget, community-based investments (such as aluminium cans) have been successful, but a new central dairy runs well below capacity.


These cases show some of the promise and pitfalls of niche marketing of products from local breeds. On one hand niche markets may be vital for the survival of many local breeds which cannot compete with higher-producing exotic breeds in mass markets. On the other hand, many local breeds may be ideally suited for niche markets: they have unique characteristics (coloured wool or hides, extra-fine fibre, meat or milk with special tastes). Many of these traits (such as coloured wool) are undesirable in the mass market, but are ideal for certain market segments – if they are marketed in the right way.

Marketing of products from local breeds can also take advantage of two other characteristics of local breeds: traditional processing techniques (to produce handicrafts or garments with distinctive designs) and strong local ties (since these breeds are found only in certain localities and are raised by certain ethnic groups). Both can be powerful features on which to base a marketing strategy.

Overall, the cases demonstrate that niche marketing of products from local breeds can generate employment and income for the poor – both livestock keepers and others involved in processing and trading the product. It can empower women, reverse the decline in the breeds concerned, and conserve both the environment and cultural values. It can be pro-poor because it is the poor who tend to keep local breeds, and because the type of work and amount of income generated may make it unattractive for wealthier individuals.



There are various approaches to exploiting a niche market. Among our cases, the most common involved finding new markets, either for an existing product (this is known as market development), or for an entirely new product (called diversification). Less common were approaches involving existing markets, either for an existing product (market penetration) or for a new product (product development). After finding a market and developing a value chain, several of the enterprises later shifted their strategy towards lower-risk approaches – either by exploiting existing markets further, or by promoting existing products.

The cases richly illustrate various aspects of the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place and promotion. They exploited the special features of the product: for example by differentiating them from competing products in terms of colour, taste, texture or quality.

Many of these features depended on the particular traits of the livestock breed – coloured wool, fibre fineness, meat taste, and so on.

None of the cases tried to compete on price. This is to be expected, since niche products are almost always higher-priced than the nearest mass-market equivalents. Several enterprises positioned their products at the upper end of the market by ensuring quality or by adding value to the raw product.

In terms of place, the cases used a variety of sales outlets, including their own stores, third-party retailers, visiting buyers, exports, and the internet. Running its own stores enabled an enterprise to capture more of the value of the final product, but limited the number of customers reached and meant incurring the costs and logistical burden of managing a retail operation.

The enterprises used various approaches for promotion of their products. They all drew customers’ attention to the unique features of the products or emphasized the products’ linkages to their area of origin. Most had some form of branding or labelling, and two had protected their products with geographical indications (a kind of trademark to show the area of origin).


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