Informal traders lock horns with the formal milk industry: The role of research in pro-poor dairy policy shift in kenya

This paper, written by C. Leksmono, J. Young, N. Hooton, H. Muriuki and D. Romney for the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), looks at the results of an analysis conducted to identify policy changes that occurred after the implementation the Smallholder Dairy Project (SDP) in Kenya.

The analysis used the RAPID Outcome Assessment framework to examine how and why these changes came about.


"This working paper forms part of the International Livestock Research Institute’s (ILRI’s) and Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI’s) ‘Process and Partnership for Pro-poor Policy Change’ (PPPPPC Project), which seeks to identify and institutionalise innovative research and development mechanisms and approaches that lead to pro-poor policy. The paper presents the results of the analysis of policy changes that occurred during and after the implementation of the Smallholder Dairy Project (SDP) in Kenya, a research and development (R&D) project which changed its focus towards achieving a greater impact from their findings on policy makers. It is a remarkable story of evidence-based policy making. The highly collaborative project was implemented by government institutions and an international research centre, later working together with advocacy Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). The high quality, credible and relevant research results pinpointed a basic problem in dairy development in Kenya: the need to recognise and develop the informal sector that markets the vast majority of milk in Kenya. Although the resulting changes in national policy are still in the legislative process, changes in attitude and behaviour of key actors toward the informal milk market can be observed from national level down to local level."


  • Introduction 1
    • ILRI’s Process and Partnership for Pro-Poor Policy Change Project 1
    • Case study: the Smallholder Dairy Project (SDP) in Kenya 1
    • Outline of the working paper 2
  • Research Framework and Approach 3
  • Results: Background, Narratives and Players 5
    • Key actors 5
    • Historical context: evolution of the Kenya dairy industry 9
    • Political context: dairy policy in Kenya 11
    • The SDP and policy change 15
    • Behavioural change of key stakeholders and SDP’s role in this 30
  • Analysis and Reflection: What Changed and Why? 38
    • The policy context: politics and institutions 38
    • Evidence: relevance, credibility and communication 40
    • Links 43
    • External influences 45
  • Conclusion 47
    • Lessons on how to achieve pro-poor policy impact 47
    • Lessons on the Rapid Outcome Assessment (ROA) approach 50 


Leksmono, C., Young, J., Hooton, N., Muriuki, H. & Romney, D. (2006). Informal Traders Lock Horns with the Formal Milk Industry: The role of research in pro-poor dairy policy shift in Kenya, Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Retrieved from:

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