Increased demand for milk and milk products means that dairy farming in East Africa has clear potential to create an important income stream for smallholder farmers. However, current systems significantly underperform due to low milk yield. We have identified the following underlying problems:
- A lack of availability of appropriate genetic material and poor matching of genetics to management systems
- Farmers lack timely feedback and advice
- No infrastructure supporting performance and pedigree recording under the range of production environments experienced by smallholders
- Farmers lack access to critical services and inputs.
To ensure that millions of African smallholder dairy farmers can access more productive dairy genetics, breeding and farmer education services, and other related input services, enabling their farming enterprises to be profitable and competitive businesses.
The LiveGene program is establishing a digital platform for farmer feedback, based on an on-farm information and communication technology to enable improved cow and herd management, and link farm data to the national dairy performance recording centres (DPRCs) for analysis. We are also establishing national public‐private on-farm dairy genetic information systems, operated through national DPRCs in Ethiopia and Tanzania. The program aims to use the data generated to develop and deliver genetic and genomic tools which allow identification of optimized genetics.