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Protected Designation of Origin After studying the value chain, the platform for local development decided that the best way to differentiate the Criollo meat was to apply for a Protected Designation of Origin for Criollo meat handled by the Chos Malal abattoir. There were several reasons for this
Adding value to livestock diversity The Chos Malal abattoir has good facilities and all the certifications required.
Centralizing the application at a single location would allow rigorous controls.
The abattoir is publicly owned.
It would enable four of the seven marketing channels to be covered by the designation: restaurants, local supermarkets, national supermarkets and butcher’s shops (channels 3–6 in Figure 23). Some 11 500–20 000 animals that currently pass through the abattoir would qualify for the designation.
The designation would not cover the local markets represented by channels 1 and 2 in Figure 23, but granting a designation to those channels is not necessary since local consumers are aware of the origin of the product and its high quality. The designation would also not cover animals sold to distant abattoirs (channel 8).
The first step towards registering a Protected Designation of Origin was for the platform members to develop a common vision. INTA organized a series of stakeholder workshops to create a forum to discuss the proposed designation. These discussions led to an agreement
to designate the “Northern Neuquén Criollo kid” based on three elements:
The breed: the Neuquén Criollo goat, with its adaptation to the local climate and conditions, producing a meat with superior taste.
The production system: natural rearing of animals involving transhumance, extensive husbandry, and a great deal of care.
A common identity based on the pristine Andes mountains, their climate, vegetation and water, as well as local customs.
The designation of origin covers young Criollo animals raised in their original area of distribution – the area of northern Neuquén province where these three elements coincide. This covers the entire departments of Minas and Chos Malal in the far north of the province, and parts of the neighbouring departments of Pehuenches, Ñorquin, Añelo and Loncopue (Figure 24).
Successful marketing requires positioning the product in the market by communicating its outstanding characteristics in a consistent way. A strategy for each market segment is necessary to guide the actors in each of the channels and to create demand for the product.
To manage the designation of origin, a Protected Designation of Origin Board was formed, composed of representatives of nine producers and two traders. An Advisory Board was also formed to bring in expertise from technical and development institutions and to facilitate communication among the various actors. One aspect of this is to strengthen organizations of herders and improve their ties with other actors.
The Protected Designation of Origin Board prepared a report detailing the quality aspects of the Neuquén goat kid and submitted it to the National Secretariat for Agriculture, Livestock, Fishing and Food (known by its Spanish acronym SAGPyA) in December
2005. This application was the first formal request under the law that governs designations of origin in Argentina, and is expected to be the first to be approved under this law.
During the first year the designation of origin was implemented, the producers were able to get prices 10% higher by selling animals under the new seal.
The general policy environment for crianceros also seems to be improving. At the national level, SAGPyA has created a special secretariat for rural development and family PART 2: Meat and hides 79
agriculture to support small producers. The Protected Designation of Origin Board and the northern Neuquén goat producers are working closely with the Neuquén provincial Ministry of Territorial Development to develop policies. The Board and producers want the provincial government to promote local production and grant tax incentives for meat produced under the Protected Designation of Origin seal. The crianceros also want guaranteed access to public rangelands. They say the authorities should stop thinking they cause desertification, but see them rather as valuable managers of public land.
The work to develop a designation of origin has spin-offs for other fields too: it fits well with efforts to develop the region as a whole, foster the local culture and identity, attract tourists, and ensure the sustainability of the pastoralist system.
CHALLENGES A mechanism is needed to ensure that crianceros and traders benefit from the additional price earned from meat marketed under the Designation of Origin seal, through “fair trade” arrangement.
A marketing strategy must be agreed by all commercial operators.
A control system for products labelled with the Protected Designation of Origin is vital, and traders must be part of such a system. It is important to be able to ensure Adding value to livestock diversity that the meat is traceable back to the original flock. Only then can consumers be sure that the product they are buying really is what the label says it is.
There are no infrastructure constraints to the current regional marketing effort. But to sell the meat in Buenos Aires or export markets, additional cold-storage and transport infrastructure, and perhaps new commercial operators, would be needed.
It is necessary to expand the programme to cover more producers.
Introduction Demand for milk and other dairy products is rising even faster than the demand for meat.
FAO estimates that per capita milk consumption in the developing world will increase by 1.3% a year between 1999 and 2030 (a 50% rise in 30 years), while production will grow by 2.5% a year, more than doubling output in this period (FAO 2007, p. 141–5).
In some countries, notably India, dairying is still dominated by smallholders, while in others, such as Brazil, the number of smallholders has fallen as production has increased (FAO 2007, p. 159–60). Locally produced milk must compete with imported powdered milk, often from subsidized producers in the developed world.
Because fresh milk is highly perishable, dairies normally have to be close to their suppliers to ensure that the milk can be pasteurized and chilled quickly. That normally excludes producers in remote areas with bad roads and no electricity: they are left with few customers except for their immediate neighbours. Pastoralists face additional constraints: forced to move in search of pasture, they cannot establish permanent collection points or delivery
arrangements. In addition, many pastoralist groups have a cultural bias against selling milk:
milk is something to be given away.
This section reports on two cases that run counter to this conventional wisdom:
Tiviski: A dairy that sources milk from pastoralists in Mauritania The golden udder: Marketing milk from camels in Puntland, Somalia.
The Tiviski dairy in Mauritania is a commercial venture that has defied expert advice to collect milk from mobile pastoralists hundreds of kilometres away, produce a quality product, and sell it in a crowded market in competition with imports. Camel milk is a niche product in Mauritania because it caters to a particular segment of the market (people from the north of the country). The dairy has also attempted to export a truly niche product – camel cheese – to Europe, but has encountered bureaucratic barriers that still must be surmounted.
The Somalia case describes how informal networks of local women have established a functioning marketing system that brings untreated, uncooled milk, also from remote, mobile herders, to the growing city of Boosaso. This case is all the more remarkable given the restrictions of the clan system in Somalia, and the lack of a central government.
Tiviski: A dairy that sources milk from pastoralists in Mauritania Maryam Abeiderrahmane and Nancy Abeiderrahmane It is still fairly cool when the milk collector arrives at the village to pick up the morning’s milk. The animal owners help unload clean, empty aluminium cans from the vehicle, then heave cans full of fresh milk onto it. There is no time to lose: the milk must get to the collection centre on time so it can be weighed, tested, filtered and put into a bulk container for cooling. During the night, an insulated tanker lorry will haul it to the dairy, where it will be pasteurized and packaged into cartons, ready for sale.
Nothing unusual about this, you might think: after all, dairies throughout the world operate in much the same way. But wait: this is Mauritania, a vast, sparsely populated country on the southern fringes of the Sahara. The milk collector drives a donkey cart and must cross miles of roadless dunes to reach the “village”, a dusty nomadic encampment.
Some producers supply tiny quantities of milk. The collection centres are hundreds of kilometres from the dairy, in Nouakchott, the capital. And the animals that produce the day’s milk are not familiar dairy cows: they are camels, local zebu cows, and goats.
SPRINGTIME IN THE DESERTThe dairy is called “Tiviski”, the local word for springtime in the desert. Founded in 1987 by Nancy Abeiderrahmane, a British-born engineer who had settled in Mauritania, the dairy started operation in 1989, producing pasteurized camel milk in 1-litre and ½-litre gable-top cartons for sale in Nouakchott. A private enterprise, Tiviski has since branched out into cow and goat milk. It buys raw milk from pastoral producers, processes it into pasteurized milk, yoghurt and other dairy products, and sells them to retailers.
Tiviski runs a system that is basically simple, though it is fairly labour-intensive.
Milk producers. About 1 000 mobile herders supply milk twice a day from camels, cows and goats; some herders provide more than one type of milk, each in separate cans.
Each supplier has one or more cans, identified with his or her number. (Producers often use this number to identify themselves on the telephone: “This is V127, Mokhtar”.) Fifteen percent of the producers are women. Poorer herders bring very small quantities of milk (as little as half a litre); better-off producers may supply up to 300 litres a day. Tiviski pays the same price per litre, regardless of the amount delivered, even though dealing with small amounts is more costly because of the need to process paperwork and clean the cans.
Milk transporters. Twice a day, privately-owned, independent transporters collect the coded milk cans from herds, camps and villages. Their vehicles range from Land Cruisers to donkey carts, depending on distances, quantities, and the “roads”, which include dirt tracks, compact level ground, and sandy dunes. These transporters do not buy the milk;
they are not traders. They are paid to deliver the raw milk to the nearest collection centre.
Adding value to livestock diversity
Big and barren, Mauritania has more livestock than people: its 1.5 million cattle, 1 million dromedaries and 10–12 million goats and sheep outnumber the country’s 3 million people. The climate is dry and grazing sparse, so almost all traditional livestock are kept in pastoral herds. In 1970, more than two-thirds of the population were nomadic, but now less than 15% are fully mobile. Camels and goats traditionally cover long distances – up to 1 000 km a year – particularly at the beginning and at the end of the short rainy season, which lasts from July to September. Herds of cattle also move around. Many herders take their animals across the borders to Mali (to the southeast) and Senegal (across the Senegal River to the south).
All the cattle are zebu. Animals kept by ethnic Fulani herders are mostly white with very long horns, while the (majority) Arabic-speaking people breed brown or black “Moorish” zebu, notable for their relatively good milk yield (an average of 3 litres/day).
Tiviski buys milk from both sorts of cattle.
However, there appears to be a recent trend towards interbreeding, as herds have become visibly diverse. A few attempts have been made to introduce high-yielding cattle breeds, such as Holstein, “Pakistani”, Jersey, but the environment is too harsh.
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Collection centres. The herders are scattered over two areas roughly 90 x 90 km around two collection centres, located in the towns of Rosso (200 km from the dairy plant in Nouakchott), and Bogué, (320 km away). At the centre, staff check each can and reject it if the milk is acid, watered or visibly dirty. They then write out a voucher for each supplier, and either send it to the producer or keep it for him or her to collect at the centre. This voucher has a monetary value: suppliers can even use it to buy goods at local shops; the shopkeepers in turn can cash in the vouchers at the dairy.
Staff at the collection centres scrub the milk cans (around 1 000 cans, twice a day) before they are returned to the producers to be refilled with the next milking. The milk is filtered, chilled and stored in cooling tanks. At night, when it is cooler, insulated tanker trucks haul the chilled bulk milk to Nouakchott.
Dairy. The plant is a modern operation that can handle 30 000 litres of milk a day, though production is normally 12 000 to 18 000 litres (4 380–6 500 tonnes/year) and varies substantially with seasons and the overall economic situation. It uses modern, stainlesssteel equipment and applies stringent quality controls to ensure consistent high quality.
The dairy processes the milk into about 20 different dairy products, including pasteurised milk, UHT (ultra-high temperature, sterilized) milk, sour milk, flavoured milk, cream, butter, yoghurt, cheese and ice cream, all packaged in attractive cartons or tubs. Cow milk accounts for the bulk of production and is made into the most products. Camel milk is made only into fresh pasteurized milk and cheese. The market decides on what can be produced: sour camel milk did not sell well, and was discontinued.