«FAO ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND HEALTH paper ADDING VALUE TO LIVESTOCK DIVERSITY Marketing to promote local breeds and improve livelihoods Cover ...»
Women Niche marketing offers benefits for women, especially if the products are fibre- or milkbased. Women are directly involved in all the cases in various activities: production, processing and marketing. Women and men often play complementary roles in livestock raising: men typically manage the larger animals (cattle, camels), shear the wool and sell high-priced assets such as livestock. Women typically are responsible for smaller animals (sheep, goats) and calves, and handle activities such as spinning and weaving, and sell low-priced products such as milk and wool. This division of labour is most clearly shown in the Somalia case.
This distinction opens the possibility for value chains to empower women and benefit them economically. Women in our cases earned income, learned skills, and gained power and respect in their societies. They also invested significant amounts of time and effort in work that can be tedious (spinning), physically demanding (hauling heavy milk cans), or hazardous (travelling long distances). They are forced to balance this work against other demands on their time, such as childcare, household work and managing livestock. Their other commitments may limit their incomes from the niche marketing activities. More women might benefit if equipment could be introduced to reduce drudgery – though the introducing machinery sometimes means a shift in tasks and benefits to men.
Development efforts aimed at women frequently find that men become interested when they see an activity can earn money. They take over, leaving the women behind (Box 10).
PART 4: Analysis 131
SUSTAINABILITYHow sustainable are these niche marketing initiatives? Four appear to be sustainable. In India, Shramik Kala has a profitable business model, a growing pool of suppliers, and longterm relationships with its buyers. The Mercado de la Estepa in Argentina appears to be serving a niche, though it is unclear how large its potential market is and whether it can grow significantly. In Mauritania, Tiviski is the market leader in dairying; it has a long history of creating innovative products, and successfully competes with lower-priced rivals. The discovery that camel milk has therapeutic qualities is opening up a promising niche market of diabetic or health-conscious consumers. In Somalia, the women traders supply a rapidly growing urban market with a vital product.
That does not mean that these initiatives are secure. Foreigners’ tastes for Indian handicrafts may change; a recession in Argentina may mean fewer tourists with less money to spend; subsidized imports from the European Union may ruin Tiviski’s sales; civil war may disrupt the Somali milk traders, or a reinvigorated government may introduce taxes or hygiene and veterinary controls. But these are risks similar to those faced by many businesses, and not just in the livestock sector or in the developing world.
The future of the other four enterprises is more doubtful. The Kyrgyzstan goats initiative shows promise: it is based on an existing resource and is not capital-intensive. However, it depends on transferring knowledge and skills, establishing a reliable value chain, and building strong local institutions. It is also sensitive to the world price for cashmere and the activities of Chinese traders in country. Government support is needed to ensure that this chain can become better established.
In Mongolia, the camel wool initiative must make the difficult jump from a projectsponsored activity to a self-sustaining business venture. It is necessary to nurture local institutions that can coordinate the wool production and marketing. Without this, the enthusiasm of the donors and volunteers will eventually wane, and local people will be unable to take on their roles.
In South Africa, Umzimvubu Goats must overcome its governance problems and ensure a reliable supply of live animals so it can expand its operations. This will probably mean putting more emphasis on its commercial operations rather than its social responsibilities.
This is a large project, so it is in the interests of the government, its main sponsor, to ensure that its money has been invested wisely.
The Criollo goats initiative in Argentina is too new to judge whether it will be a success. As the first application under the law that governs the country’s Protected Designations of Origin, it is charting new territory. Much will depend on whether consumers can be persuaded to pay extra for a specialty product, whether the board that manages the designation of origin functions as hoped, and whether livestock keepers can benefit financially from the labelling. An additional risk is competition: if Argentina’s many other meat producers see it as a successful marketing effort, they are likely to imitate it, driving down prices and eliminating any financial benefits for the Criollo goat keepers.
Challenges Local breeds often suffer from a lack of recognition of the value of their products.
The products may currently have low quality or be available only in small quantities or during certain seasons.
Local conditions are often demanding, with distance, drought, disease, and a lack of infrastructure and services all making production and marketing difficult to manage.
Organizing producers and processors may be difficult, especially among mobile pastoralists.
Livestock keepers may lack the capacity to manage a market-oriented business.
Government policies and institutions may be unsupportive.
It can be difficult to identify a suitable market for products and to establish reliable links with customers, especially in export markets.
Opportunities Despite these challenges, this book has identified many opportunities for niche marketing
of local breeds:
Local breeds can produce unique products that can generate significant levels of demand and can help rescue a threatened breed from further decline or extinction.
Exploiting a local breed is one of the few ways to increase employment and incomes in remote, marginal areas, allowing local residents to maintain their livelihoods.
Basing an enterprise on a local breed can take advantage of livestock keepers’ indigenous knowledge and local people’s traditional culture, encouraging the conservation of both.
Enterprises based on local breeds build on local resources and initiatives. They are likely to be cheaper and more sustainable than enterprises based on imported breeds and technologies.
A value chain based on local breeds can generate new sources of income, such as tourism or handicrafts. This income benefits local people directly.
An enterprise based on local breeds is likely to be pro-poor and pro-women, since it is normally the poorer livestock keepers and women who maintain the breeds or who have the skills to process the products.
A value chain based on local breeds builds the skills of local people and empowers them in relation to the outside world.
Livestock breeds can stimulate enthusiasm among their supporters like few other products. Such enthusiasm may be vital for marketing efforts to succeed.
Overproduction. High demand may stimulate livestock keepers to raise more and more animals, resulting in overgrazing and environmental damage. Speciality products often require the conservation of the traditional management approach. A shift to more intensive forms of production, such as stall-feeding, may diminish the desirable qualities – the taste of the meat, the therapeutic qualities of camel milk, the qualities of wool.
Dilution of special features. If demand for the product exceeds the supply of the local breed, the enterprise (or its rivals) may decide to reduce the amount of the local breed in the product. Wool or cashmere can be blended with more plentiful fibres;
camel milk can be mixed with cow’s milk; sausages can be made with a mixture of meats. Pressure may arise for other breeds or a larger area to be admitted to a Protected Designation of Origin. Enterprises may cheat, passing off one product for another. None of these have yet occurred in any of the cases in this book, but they do happen elsewhere.
Adding mainstream products. As a company gains strength and experience, it may add mainstream products to its output – as Tiviski did when it expanded its product range from camel milk to include cow and goat milk, butter and cheese.
What elements are needed for a niche marketing initiative based on local breeds to be successful and sustainable? Here are some suggestions:
Use existing resources. The initiative should be based on existing resources: the livestock breed, natural resources and human resources, and use the environment in a sustainable way.
Identify a suitable entry point. To conserve a breed or benefit livestock keepers, it may be better to focus on some aspect of the chain other than working directly with livestock keepers. For example, developing an urban-based processing industry to increase demand for the raw materials may be the best way to benefit livestock keepers (or conserve the breed).
Start small. The initiative should invest first in human capital and at a small scale, rather than in costly infrastructure. If the activity works, it should then seek more capital investment.
Do the research. It should be based on a thorough understanding of the production system, the product and the market. That means studying the breed and its characteristics, the livestock keepers and their production system, the range of potential products, and the potential customers for the products.
Identify special characteristics of the breed. The initiative should seek ways to market products that reflect these characteristics: by creating new products, refining existing traditional products, or finding new markets for existing products.
Find a viable business model. The initiative should generate income for all actors in the value chain.
Focus on quality. It should emphasize the need to maintain quality. A niche product can command higher prices only if it is superior to alternative products.
Build capacity. The initiative should stimulate the creation of strong local institutions and train people in technical and management skills.
Adding value to livestock diversity Don’t depend too much on outsiders. The initiative may require significant support from outsiders over the medium term, but should not depend on expertise or funding from outsiders over the long term.
Ensure long-term demand. The product chosen should be one where demand is likely to grow over the long term.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The initiative should be based on a range of products and markets: that way, it is not a disaster if one product fails to sell or one customer refuses to buy.
CONCLUSIONSNiche marketing can provide opportunities for sustainable production in marginal areas and can improve the livelihoods of livestock keepers and people involved in the processing and trade of products. It may especially benefit women and the poor. It can also be a tool for conserving breeds.
Efforts to promote niche marketing may help local people connect to markets for the first time, giving them skills that they can use in exploring other markets and developing other enterprises.
Niche markets may allow actors earlier in the value chain – livestock keepers and smallscale processors – to capture a greater share of the value of the end product than in a mass market. This will make it attractive for these actors to continue and expand their businesses.
Niche marketing is by nature relatively small-scale. For large numbers of producers, it cannot replace the need to produce products for a wider, mass market. But for local breeds, it may be possible to find a match between the qualities of the breed, the features of a particular product, and the demands of a specific market. Making this match will help conserve the breed as well as provide a livelihood for people involved in the value chain.
Participants’ profiles Participants’ profiles 137 This section contains information about the participants in the writeshop at Kalk Bay, Cape Town, South Africa, that drafted this book. A full list of contributors (including those who did not attend the writeshop) is given in the List of contributors near the front of this book.
MARYAM ABEIDERRAHMANEFinancial manager, Tiviski, Nouakchott, Mauritania E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: www.tiviski.com, Maryam helps manage Tiviski, a dairy in Mauritania. She organizes milk collection, arranges payments to suppliers, organizes milk processing and sales, and manages personnel and accounts. Along with her husband, she recently took over the dairy when her mother and company founder, Nancy Abeiderrahmane, retired from a management role.
GETACHEW GEBRUResearch associate, Utah State University, Department of Environment and Society, Logan, USA, and research scientist, PARIMA c/o International Livestock Research Institute PO Box 5689, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Tel.: +251 11 617 2238, +251 11 617 2000 E-mail: email@example.com Currently based in Ethiopia, Getachew is a visiting scientist at ILRI and coordinates research in the Global Livestock Collaborative Research Support Program (GL-CRSP), Pastoral Risk Management (PARIMA) Project led by Utah State University. He holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and previously was a senior lecturer at Alemaya University of Agriculture, Ethiopia. He is also the Africa coordinator for the Endogenous Livestock Development Network for strengthening local initiatives to use resources sustainably.
MEG JORDI Freelance artist and illustrator Cape Town, South Africa E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Meg has worked as a self-employed illustrator for the past 15 years. She has a wide range of experience working with local and international NGOs, publishers, authors and editors, in a variety of styles and mediums, including detailed naturalistic illustrations, simple blackand-white line drawings, and watercolours. She draws illustrations in a whimsical New Yorker style for the South African magazine Noseweek. She is frequently commissioned to illustrate children’s books as well as textbooks and handbooks about environmental issues.