What is the relative weight of labour costs in total milk production costs at farm level in the selected 9 countries?
What national legislation and implementation rules affect farm competitiveness, in relation to labour and environmental legislation and how?
How does labour and environmental regulation affect international trade and competitiveness in dairy commodities such as milk powder and cheddar?
What is the relationship between labour legislation in the dairy sector and related SGDs?

Animal production and in particular dairy production, is an intensive labour activity if compared to other agricultural sectors. Labour conditions and related costs may significantly affect dairy products competitiveness and international dairy trade. In this case study, the differences between labour conditions, legislation and local rules will be investigated. Particular attention will be paid to labour condition and environmental regulations and legislations in each of the nine countries. The case study is directly related to SDG1 ‘No poverty’, SDG2 ‘Zero Hunger’ and SDG3 ‘Good Health and Well-being’, SDG13 ‘Climate Action’ and SDG15 ‘Life on Land’.

The relationship between dairy farmers and dairy industry will be investigated in terms of labour and environmental requirements, in particular the role of dairy cooperatives vs private actors in the nine countries involved in this case study.

Policies related to environmental and labour legislation that affect farm level decision-making in the case study countries at will be examined. In particular the differences between EU and extra-EU countries legislation and how these differences may cause a competitiveness gap and influencing dairy commodities trade.

Labour cost and environmental requirements can play a significant and increasing role in the competitiveness of dairy value chains in a specific country and have a great influence on dairy product competition in the global market. In this case study labour cost will be quantified in each of the nine countries at farm level and a cross comparison will help to assess the market competitiveness of the dairy sector.

Due to the lack of a worldwide farm accountancy system, the methodological approach chosen to achieve the goals of this case study is the Typical Farm Method. A typical farm is a model farm representing the most common farm type for a specific product in a specific country or region. The necessary technical and economic data to define a typical farm are collected by farmers and local experts. The typical farms are fully comparable worldwide as the same standard rules are used.

Primary data collection will be performed by local experts according to the Typical Farm approach. Secondary information regarding the national legislation will be collected through a literature review and country specific official sources.

The results from the case study will show the impact of environmental regulations and legislations on the competitiveness of dairy production in the case study countries.
Furthermore, it will show how the labour legislation in force in the different selected countries will impact the farm economy. In particular different requirements existing between EU and extra-EU countries and how these differences can affect dairy commodity trade.
In addition, the cost of production model will used to understand how the environmental regulations may impact the farm competitiveness and trade of dairy commodities such as milk powder and cheddar.
The whole case study will identify the linkages between labour conditions and environmental requirements in dairy farm and the related SDGs. This analysis will help to detect best practices for improving labour conditions and environmental impact in the dairy supply chains.

Case Study Leader

Research Centre on Animal Production, Department of Economics and Engineering

Lοcal Partner(s)

International Farm Net Comparison on Dairy

SDG's Addressed


Geographical Focus and Scale

  South Africa

Product and market focus

Milk production at farm level, key dairy products traded in the case study countries

Key stakeholders

Farmers, processors, traders, retailers in the 9 countries involved