Cross-cutting issues and the tool box
When dealing with investments in the dairy sector, considerations about gender equality, HIV/AIDS and the environmental impact are highly important. Since these issues are cross cutting by nature, they need to be considered as an integral part of all sections and questions. A number of tools are developed for mainstreaming of crosscutting issues in agriculture and in dairy development. The tool box does therefore not include specific questions for assessing an investment’s impact on gender equality, HIV/AIDS and environmental issues, instead references are made to sources where more specific information can be found.
Women play an important role in smallholder agriculture and it is estimated that women perform around 80% of the work in smallholder agriculture. Similarly women play an important role in the dairy sector. Smallholder dairy is a family business where each family member contributes and benefits from the activities, and women are not only centrally involved in milk production, but also in collection, processing and marketing of dairy products. Dairy provides women with a regular daily income, vital to household food security and family well-being. However, in the past, female farmers have often been left out by the advisory services for dairy production, as these have been developed with male farmers as the main target group. Since the roles and benefits of men and women differ, interventions for improvements in the dairy sector need to take gender equality into consideration when interventions are considered. Further information on gender equality in the dairy sector can be found on (Gender Issues in Small Scale Dairying, www.FAO.org/ag/againfo )
HIV/AIDS constitute a major development problem in many countries in Sub-saharan Africa, and in countries with a high HIV prevalence, the epidemic is having a negative impact on the agricultural sector. Families affected by HIV/AIDS are often forced to reduce their agricultural production and sell of agricultural assets including dairy animals to cover the expenses for medical care. The transfer of knowledge from parents to children and the access to agricultural services is limited when families suddenly consist of old grandparents and young children. And service provision is reduced, as an increasing number of staff in ministries, among local authorities and in the extension service spend additional time tending to sick relatives or fall sick themselves. Addressing these constraints is therefore important when considering investments in smallholder dairy development. Further information in HIV/AIDS and the dairy industry can be found on http://www.fao.org/hivaids/
Development in the dairy sector and increased milk production coupled with developments in the dairy processing industry heightens the pressure on the natural resources. Traditionally, livestock and overgrazing have been closely associated, however, most environmental damage by livestock is a reflection of the way the farmers choose to manage their livestock, and proper management systems may also influence positively on the natural resources, e.g. exemplified by a mixed farming system where manure from livestock provide an important input to improving soil structure and fertility. When planning for investment in the dairy sector, environmental concerns need to be taken into consideration. Further information on the environmental consideration can be found under the LEAD Livestock Environment and Development Initiative where a tool box in the form of an electronic decision support tool for policy makers, planners and project leaders has been developed. (The Livestock and Development Toolbox a decision tools in http://lead.virtualcentre.org/ )