In Nicaragua, dairy and beef production is often the most important household income source. Several factors, however, limit the participation of small scale cattle farmers in cattle value chains. The quantity of milk produced by small scale farmers is us ually low, characterized by high seasonal fluctuations in availability and prices, with markedly reduced production levels during the dry season, and is often of poor quality. Income from beef production is low, with cash income mostly coming from selling steers at weaning age with hardly any added value.
The main long term focus of the Livestock and Fish (L&F) CGIAR program in Nicaragua is to improve the competitiveness and income of small and medium cattle farmers in Nicaragua through the creation and strengthening of sustainable dairy and beef value chains, to increase access to high-quality animal source products for poor consumers, and diversify products for national and regional markets.
This research grant will specifically support establishment of a system dynamics (SD) model that adequately represents the current dual purpose value chain to test potential areas of improvement. Developing an SD model helps to understand complex systems, can be used as a tool to analyze and evaluate strategies an d policies, and can test theories. To construct a system dynamics model data will be collected using a value chain survey involving the different actors in the value chain: input-suppliers, producers, processors, traders, consumers. Additionally, a group modeling technique will be used, which involves participants and other stakeholders in the enabling environment in the chain, in model construction, testing and predictions of effect of decisions.
The research team focuses strongly on dissemination of re sults to all stakeholders involved in the dual purpose value chain, as well as internationally, to be able to reach the set research objectives.