Milk production is an important livestock-sector activity and it is estimated that nearly 150 million farm households throughout the world are engaged in milk production.

One way for "dollar-poor" small-scale farmers to increase their income per hectare is to switch to higher value agricultural products, such as meat, milk or eggs. Stronger engagement in livestock production, however, exposes smallholders to additional risks, such as losing their animals through theft, predation or disease.