Characterization of the diversity of dairy farming systems and milk marketing strategies around greater Cairo (Egypt)
The aim of this study was to suggest a methodology to characterize the diversity of dairy farming systems in Nile valley lands (NVLs) and newly reclaimed lands (NRLs) in Egypt to understand the traditional dairy sector. Data were collected from 65 farmers in three villages through three consecutive seasons. Interviews and field visits were done at farm level. Based on multiple factorial and cluster analyses, six farmer groups were identified according to land and livestock assets, milk production and selling. Milk marketing was influenced by season, farmers’ traditions, and market access. Structure highlights the dominance of small scale crop-livestock system, farm family depends on milk as a source of protein and fat for family food and as a main source of income especially in old lands, while in NRLs, there was a higher crop-livestock integration and complementarity to cover family and farm expenses, so paid services strategy could fit dairy sector in new land. Milk production constitutes a major activity in very small land farms, the sustainability of this sector facing the lack of technical support and lack of pricing system for milk and feedstuffs, where more governmental and non-governmental projects needed to supply farmers with high quality forage seeds, high producing animals and veterinary services. So, considering the diversity of farming systems, one agricultural policy will not fit all farmers’ categories. Also, governmental and non-governmental services should be reasoned according to the region and the season.