Unraveling the potential of urban dairy sector development in Africa




Eline D’Haene (°1992) is fulltime assistant at the Department of Agricultural Economics, Rural Development Economics. She started working on her PhD in 2015. Eline holds an MA in Bioscience Engineering option Agriculture (2015), with specialization in tropical agriculture and development. She spent three months in the Democratic Republic of Congo (2014) for her master thesis research where she investigated the potential of organic fertilization, microdosing and arbuscular mycorrhizae for increasing soil fertility and agricultural productivity.


Eline’s current research focuses on the urban dairy sector in Africa. So far she has been to Ethiopia where she collected data in the capital city of the Tigray region (Mekelle) (2016).

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Although the so-called “Livestock Revolution” manifests itself in some transforming and urbanized economies of Asia and Latin-America (particularly in China, India and Brazil), annual growth rate in per capita milk consumption in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) sputtered. Current dairy consumption levels in the region still remain far below those of Europe and Northern America. The situation is even worse in Ethiopia,  where annual per capita milk consumption reaches only half of the SSA average despite the fact that the country is believed to have the largest livestock population in Africa. Low supply and limited demand are thought to be the underlying causes of the slow development process. On the one hand lack of improved animal genetics, inadequate animal feed resources both in terms of quality and quantity and poor animal health and diseases comprise production and productivity; while on the other hand, low income and consumer preferences limit milk demand. Ethiopia is a special case as the country is known for its numerous followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church who observe multiple fastening periods throughout the year. During these periods believers must abstain from consuming any animal product including meat, eggs and milk. With around half of the Ethiopian population belonging to the Orthodox Church and a total sum of about 200 fastening days a year, the impact of fastening on the production cycle, processing and price setting of milk is significant, because it makes demand fluctuate. This interesting mix of factors initiated the interest in gaining inside in the structure, functioning and embeddedness of the urban dairy value chain; relations and current business arrangements with input suppliers and milk buyers and the potential role of inclusive business models.


urban agriculture, dairy production, institutional arrangements, inclusive business models, Ethiopia

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