Smallholder dairy farmers participation in milk markets in Sri Lanka : a livelihood analysis : a dissertation presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Agriculture and Rural Development at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

dc.confidentialEmbargo : Noen_US
dc.contributor.advisorWood, Brennon
dc.contributor.authorThenuwara Acharige, Nadeesha
dc.description.abstractCommercial dairy farming is regarded as a promising mechanism through which rural poverty can be alleviated in Sri Lanka, and in many other developing countries around the world. The Sri Lankan Government has implemented and supported multiple dairy development programmes since 2010 aimed at strengthening smallholder dairy farmers and enhancing their participation in the formal milk market. Previous research has examined different aspects of smallholder dairying, including production practices, milk market participation and the impact of commercial dairying on livelihoods. So far, smallholder market participation studies have shown mixed results with the benefits of market participation seeming to favour some smallholder farmers over others. Little research, in either Sri Lanka or other developing countries, has explored in-depth smallholders’ dairy commercial activities in relation to the multiple livelihood activities farmers pursue and their overall asset portfolio. Using a livelihoods lens and the concept of livelihood pathways, this study extends knowledge of how smallholders engage in both formal and informal commercial dairying and why they engage in the way they do. Uniquely this is explored both at one point in time and over smallholders dairying history. In addition, this study adds to knowledge on the significance of commercial dairying in smallholders’ livelihoods. Smallholders’ milk selling varied in terms of regularity of selling throughout the year, consistency of volume sold, and type of market participated in the most. Differences across informal and formal milk markets, diversity of smallholders’ circumstances and livelihood factors shaped three distinct patterns of milk production and selling. Smallholders endowed with a high level of all five assets, with diversified income activities including multiple stable income sources and a weak adherence to traditional social norms, participated in milk markets regularly, delivering relatively large, consistent volumes of milk. These smallholders dominated both formal and informal markets and their overall commercial dairy trajectories were relatively stable over time. In contrast, resource-constrained smallholders had the least diversified portfolio with seasonal livelihood activities and a strong adherence to social norms, sold milk irregularly in the market. The volumes they delivered to the market were low and variable, and they relied heavily on informal selling. These smallholders’ dairy trajectories were vulnerable, they were locked-in to low production and low-volume selling and were characterised by a lack of resilience in the face of unexpected shocks. Those smallholders falling in between the well off and poorly endowed smallholders showed a higher level of diversity in milk-market participation when their selling pattern was examined within a year. Half of middle smallholders delivered the majority of milk to the formal market regularly, in large and consistent volumes, while the other half sold milk seasonally, in low and variable volumes, mostly to the informal market. Moderately resource-endowed smallholders had fluctuating commercial dairy trajectories which are relatively more dynamic than the stable and vulnerable trajectories in terms of production and selling. They are the smallholders who frequently move between the formal and informal markets. In general, fluctuating trajectories are marked by a moderate amount of formal market participation, as well as a moderate level of regularity and consistency in selling volumes. The comprehension of moderately endowed smallholders cannot be grasped by examining a static form of their commercial dairying, as this study has demonstrated. This research highlights that synergy across five asset types, and complementarity between livelihood activities, increases livelihood resilience and facilitates smallholder milk-market participation. In Sri Lanka social norms influence market participation by shaping how smallholders use dairy-related assets and the priority they place on the selling of milk relative to other social and cultural functions. This research showed that resource-endowed smallholders were less dependent on milk-selling as they had other stable income sources for living. However, milk-selling was highly significant for resource-constrained smallholders due to the uncertainty of their income sources. Based on key findings, this research argues that development policies related to dairy commercialization need to account for the diversity of smallholder dairy farmers. Likewise, linking smallholders to the formal market may require different interventions aimed at changing the individual farmer’s attitudes and values related to dairying and making them capable of dealing with formal institutions in the formal market by supporting the enhancement of their overall asset portfolio. Finally, this study emphasises the importance of taking into account context-specific factors such as dairying cultural embeddedness, the availability of multiple markets, and smallholder dairy trajectories when developing policies and development interventions aimed at reducing poverty through increased milk market participation.en_US
dc.publisherMassey Universityen_US
dc.rightsThe Authoren_US
dc.subjectDairy farmersen
dc.subjectFarms, Smallen
dc.subjectMilk tradeen
dc.subjectSri Lankaen
dc.subject.anzsrc300208 Farm management, rural management and agribusinessen
dc.titleSmallholder dairy farmers participation in milk markets in Sri Lanka : a livelihood analysis : a dissertation presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Agriculture and Rural Development at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealanden_US
massey.contributor.authorThenuwara Acharige, Nadeeshaen_US and Rural Developmenten_US Universityen_US of Philosophyen_US
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