Improve the lives of small dairy farmers

The dairy industry in Indonesia is offering farmers opportunities for growth, but they need help. The Trouw Nutrition Dairy Sustainability Programme is providing that. “We want to raise milk production and quality and, in so doing, improve the lives of small dairy farmers,” says Amin Sutiarto, Ruminant Specialist & Dairy Project Manager.

This represents a challenge as the Indonesian market – almost entirely concentrated in Java island – has proved to be a difficult one. “Here, the demand for dairy products is much greater than the supply,” explains Amin, who has been involved in the Nutreco project since day one.

“Indonesia has a population of more than 250 million, but the present number of dairy cows can not meet the demand of so many people.” What’s more, milk production is very low in comparison with other countries. An Indonesian dairy cow gives an average of ten litres of milk a day; a cow in the Netherlands produces almost triple that amount.

A dairy farmer in Java has two to three cows on average. He takes the milk production to milk collection points every day. From there, almost all milk goes to a small, medium or large dairy co-op of which the farmer is a member.

There are also big differences between these organisations. While a smaller co-op delivers less than ten tonnes of milk a day, the biggest is good for around 150 tonnes.

 

Little milk and low incomes

Because there is little cattle feed available, and its quality leaves much to be desired, small dairy farmers cannot grow. They also lack essential knowledge of nutrition and in general hygienic conditions in the barns are poor. This leads to poor milk quality, low production, little income and the number of cows will decrease.

The parties collaborating in the Dairy Sustainability Program are taking on these challenges step by step. Central to this is making small farmers aware of the importance of good quality feed. Among other things, they are learning that high-quality feed leads to more and better milk and a higher income. But the path to this is a rough one.

Farmers go for cheap feed

“The farmers have had their own way of working for years,” says Amin. “They calculate how much feed they can afford and always choose price over quality. For example, they give the cows cheap bean-curd waste, but they don’t know that this has low nutritional value. Because of this, dairy production and quality continue to lag behind. Although soya bean meals (SBM) lead to a better result, they are more expensive. That’s why we explain why and how high-quality feed makes a difference in our training courses.”

Tailored approach

In 2015, from eight candidates, one small and one medium-sized dairy co-op in West Java were selected for the three-year project (see box 'The project in phases'): KPGS Cikajang in Garut and KPSP Saluyu in Kuningan. "We introduced the concept of feed advisor at the co-ops; train and coach them," explains Amin. "They then share this knowledge with the farmers and train them. Among other things the co-op learns how to produce a better concentrate feed in order to give the cows balanced rations. The modified formula in combination with more and better fodder is crucial for a better result. This tailored approach ensures that milk production per cow may rise in the future to 15 litres per day.

Sharing knowledge in the community

“With this training-the-trainer approach, we can show best practices and share knowledge within the co-op community on an increasingly greater scale,” says Jose Villalon, Nutreco’s Corporate Sustainability Director. But the project goes beyond advising and knowledge transfer. “The availability of land for growing fodder is limited in Indonesia,” he continues. “Because of that, farms don’t have a reliable supply and conserved fodder is neglected. We want to improve that too.”

Access to better feed

This is why the programme likes to link the farmers to private landowners who have experience in arable farming. “In this way, they can contribute better quality fodder to the farmers and offer conserved feed (corn silage) as a solution in the dry season,” explains Jose. “If farmers have access to better feed, milk production rises, and so does income. Hopefully, this will also increase the confidence of farmers to increase their number of cows. In recent years, they have been selling cows to the slaughterhouse because the income from dairy fell. Because of this the number of dairy cows shrank.”

Putting it straight into practice

The project is now halfway and Amin believes it is on the right track. “The most important thing is that the farmers get the right information about feed. We’ve noticed that they think it’s very exciting. They’re seeing the results improving with their own eyes and this is making them increasingly enthusiastic. And they are telling their fellow farmers about it. You can also see it in the impatience of those taking part. Everyone would rather put what they learn straight into practice. At the co-ops, the co-op are so motivated that they’ve sometimes already changed the formula of the feed before we’ve even started.”

“I’m proud to be part of this project,” says Amin. “Together we really can make a difference. We want to help the farmers and be visible for them, so that we become a partner. It’s not about profit but about raising awareness of good nutrition. In this way we are ultimately improving farmers livelihood.”

Why Nutreco is doing this

“This project fits Nutreco’s mission of helping to create value in the communities in which we’re involved,” says Jose Villalon. “For example, we also have a project focusing on small-scale catfish farmers in Nigeria. I’m very excited about the project in Indonesia because one of the great challenges of feeding the world is sending feed to areas where it’s needed most:

  • “With expertise and transfer of know-how, we are laying the foundations for local production, tackling poverty in the area and long-term business development.”
  • “So it’s not about producing in Europe and shipping it to Asia or Africa; this is about empowering underprivileged people in the communities in which we’re active, and raising them from poverty.”
  • “This project embraces three of our four core values because we can care, collaborate, translate our capabilities into action and develop innovation.”
  • “If we do that well, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. That’s why we’ll shortly be starting more projects to help people worldwide.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

A dairy farmer in Java has two to three cows on average. He takes the milk production to milk collection points every day. From there, almost all milk goes to a small, medium or large dairy co-op of which the farmer is a member. There are also big differences between these organisations. While a smaller co-op delivers less than ten tonnes of milk a day, the biggest is good for around 150 tonnes.

Little milk and low incomes

Because there is little cattle feed available, and its quality leaves much to be desired, small dairy farmers cannot grow. They also lack essential knowledge of nutrition and in general hygienic conditions in the barns are poor. This leads to poor milk quality, low production, little income and the number of cows will decrease.

The parties collaborating in the Dairy Sustainability Program are taking on these challenges step by step. Central to this is making small farmers aware of the importance of good quality feed. Among other things, they are learning that high-quality feed leads to more and better milk and a higher income. But the path to this is a rough one.

Farmers go for cheap feed

“The farmers have had their own way of working for years,” says Amin. “They calculate how much feed they can afford and always choose price over quality. For example, they give the cows cheap bean-curd waste, but they don’t know that this has low nutritional value. Because of this, dairy production and quality continue to lag behind. Although soya bean meals (SBM) lead to a better result, they are more expensive. That’s why we explain why and how high-quality feed makes a difference in our training courses.”

Tailored approach

In 2015, from eight candidates, one small and one medium-sized dairy co-op in West Java were selected for the three-year project (see box 'The project in phases'): KPGS Cikajang in Garut and KPSP Saluyu in Kuningan. "We introduced the concept of feed advisor at the co-ops; train and coach them," explains Amin. "They then share this knowledge with the farmers and train them. Among other things the co-op learns how to produce a better concentrate feed in order to give the cows balanced rations. The modified formula in combination with more and better fodder is crucial for a better result. This tailored approach ensures that milk production per cow may rise in the future to 15 litres per day.

Sharing knowledge in the community

“With this training-the-trainer approach, we can show best practices and share knowledge within the co-op community on an increasingly greater scale,” says Jose Villalon, Nutreco’s Corporate Sustainability Director. But the project goes beyond advising and knowledge transfer. “The availability of land for growing fodder is limited in Indonesia,” he continues. “Because of that, farms don’t have a reliable supply and conserved fodder is neglected. We want to improve that too.”

Access to better feed

This is why the programme likes to link the farmers to private landowners who have experience in arable farming. “In this way, they can contribute better quality fodder to the farmers and offer conserved feed (corn silage) as a solution in the dry season,” explains Jose. “If farmers have access to better feed, milk production rises, and so does income. Hopefully, this will also increase the confidence of farmers to increase their number of cows. In recent years, they have been selling cows to the slaughterhouse because the income from dairy fell. Because of this the number of dairy cows shrank.”

Putting it straight into practice

The project is now halfway and Amin believes it is on the right track. “The most important thing is that the farmers get the right information about feed. We’ve noticed that they think it’s very exciting. They’re seeing the results improving with their own eyes and this is making them increasingly enthusiastic. And they are telling their fellow farmers about it. You can also see it in the impatience of those taking part. Everyone would rather put what they learn straight into practice. At the co-ops, the co-op are so motivated that they’ve sometimes already changed the formula of the feed before we’ve even started.”

“I’m proud to be part of this project,” says Amin. “Together we really can make a difference. We want to help the farmers and be visible for them, so that we become a partner. It’s not about profit but about raising awareness of good nutrition. In this way we are ultimately improving farmers livelihood.”

Why Nutreco is doing this

“This project fits Nutreco’s mission of helping to create value in the communities in which we’re involved,” says Jose Villalon. “For example, we also have a project focusing on small-scale catfish farmers in Nigeria. I’m very excited about the project in Indonesia because one of the great challenges of feeding the world is sending feed to areas where it’s needed most:

  • “With expertise and transfer of know-how, we are laying the foundations for local production, tackling poverty in the area and long-term business development.”
  • “So it’s not about producing in Europe and shipping it to Asia or Africa; this is about empowering underprivileged people in the communities in which we’re active, and raising them from poverty.”
  • “This project embraces three of our four core values because we can care, collaborate, translate our capabilities into action and develop innovation.”
  • “If we do that well, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. That’s why we’ll shortly be starting more projects to help people worldwide.”