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This book should have been written long before today. We see it as a comprehensive text that builds on the pioneering 1958 and 1966 CAB works of Mahadevan, concerning Dairy Cattle Breeding in the Tropics and Breeding for Milk Production in Tropical Cattle. We also see it as a subject that will continue to rise in importance in the developing tropics. Smallholder milk production continues to involve increasing numbers of people providing a regular income to support families. In some cases, continued participation in the industry has been possible without ownership or tenure over land. The importance of milk as a dietary component in rural communities provides benefits above cash flow and income production and these nutritional benefits also flow into urban communities. For these reasons, we first wish to acknowledge the millions of smallholder milk producers throughout the tropics. These are the people whom we hope will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the work presented in this book.

We wish to thank sincerely the authors of the chapters that comprise this book. We initially made a conscious choice of the types of people whom we would invite to contribute. These included people who had demonstrated leadership in their fields and commitment to further assist smallholder dairy farmers, and who knew or knew of each other through their professional interests in the field. We also selected people across a wide range of countries and all continents to ensure that the examples used to explain practical points include the colour and variations that make up the diversity of smallholder dairying across the tropics. In thanking these authors, we also accept responsibility in editing and trust that we have faithfully represented the individual authors’ viewpoints and intentions. Specifically we thank the chapter authors: S. Aiumlamai, P. Bandyopadhyay, N.V. Belavadi, A.J. De Boer, P.N. de Leeuw, C. Devendra, A.R. Egan, B.K. Ganguly, D. Gilmour, L.R. Humphreys, S. Kumar, R. Leng, B. Malcolm, V.D. Mudgal, S.R. Na Phuket, I.M. Nitis, M.K. Niyogi, A. Omore, O. Perera, S.K. Ranjhan, H. Schelhaas, S. Staal, V.K. Taneja, T. Thirapatsakun, W. Thorpe, J.E. Vercoe, Alemu Gebre Wold and E. Zerbini.

We also wish to thank Ms Bernadette Matthews, our indefatigable editor. Bernadette conducted this task initially as part of her ongoing responsibilities within the Institute of Land and Food Resources, University of Melbourne, Australia, and subsequently as an additional activity to her employment in another Faculty of the university. Without Bernadette’s high organisational skills, persistence and editorial attention this book would not have been achieved within the agreed schedule. We also wish to thank Ms Mary Vatsaloo for ardent support among other duties during the preparation of the book.

The generous support of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is also acknowledged with gratitude. From the outset, we were determined that the publication would be made available to the widest possible audience of progressive smallholders, teachers, academics, researchers, planners and others. The generous contribution of the ILRI in publishing and distributing the book has enabled us to achieve that objective.

Finally, we wish to acknowledge the contribution of our own institutions. From Charan’s perspective, the financial support of the Thailand Research Fund (TRF) through the TRF Senior Research Fellowship Project; also Kasetsart University and its continued support for animal-related development; and from Lindsay’s, the University of Melbourne for its commitments to international agriculture and to wider international involvement.

Lindsay Falvey Charan Chantalakhana

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