Opportunities and Constraints for Small and Medium-sized Farmers in the Context of the Booming Dairy Value Chains in Nicaragua; Case Study of Matiguás.

Date: 17 December 2013

Venue: UAntwerp - Stadscampus - Building S - Promotion Hall - Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerp

Time: 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: Faculty of Applied Economics - IOB

PhD candidate: Juan Carlos Polvorosa

Principal investigator: Prof. Johan Bastiaensen

Short description: PhD defence Juan Carlos Polvorosa, Faculty of Applied Economics - IOB

Abstract: In recent years, the dairy sector has exhibited increasing levels of dynamism in the Nicaraguan economy, showing the largest increase in the output of the entire food industry in the last decade as well as the second largest increase in export value. At the same time, dairy farming constitutes one of the most important sources of income for much of the rural population, especially also for a segment of small and medium producers with land whom are strongly engaged in this economic activity. The combination of these two factors have created expectations of a more inclusive dairy development pathway with ample participation of the poorer small and medium-sized dairy farmers. Despite the hopes placed on dairy farming as a driver of rural economic growth, its actual capacity to transform increased market opportunities into real increase of the incomes of the (rural) poor is critically connected to the challenges that these face in terms of accessing and competing in (global) markets. A deep understanding of the performance of value chains is needed to determine the real potential that markets for high value dairy products hold for increasing the income of those farmers involved in milk production. A thorough analysis of its governance structure is therefore required. It is also important to determine the major production constraints that dairy farmers face to produce more milk and upgrade their hygienic milking practices, a pre-condition to supply the modern value chain. Also, the relationship between increasing demand for fresh milk, dairy farming intensification and the reduction of the advancement of the agricultural frontier in Nicaragua has not been fully acknowledged nor understood; instead it has been misconceived, leading to an erroneous belief that intensification and a reduction in deforestation rate may be the positive outcome of more dynamic markets for high value dairy products. This dissertation addresses these issues through an in-depth case-study of dairy farming in the municipality of Matiguás, one of the important territories of the so-called 'Via Láctea' (Milky-Way).

Entrance fee: Free

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