We have been working since 1995 through a coordinated research project (CRP) granted by IAEA (RC No. 8566/RB) on evaluating artificial insemination service (AI) quality by using progesterone radioimmunoassay (RIA) and artificial insemination database application (AIDA). The challenges we identified were (1) poor oestrus detection efficiency and accuracy; (2) lack of tools and initiatives to follow the outcome of breeding; (3) inconsistent semen quality; (4) wide variations in skills of inseminators; and (5) poor nutrition conditions of cows that not only extend calving to conception intervals but also lower the conception rate. We learned that number of AI could be substantially increased by introducing a reproductive health management programme that would identify more cyclic cows to breed. We introduced a participatory programme with smallholder dairy farmers called Field Fertility Clinic guided by forms and database application developed by us through a USDA grant (BG-ARS-109) and an IAEA CRP (302-D3-BGD 11806) in 2001 and 2002, respectively. This on-farm productivity veterinary service increased farmers’ net income that equalled the price of a litre of milk. During delivering the service, we learnt that farm community participation is important for continuation of the service after the project period would be over. Subsequently we developed a model of delivering the productivity veterinary service in smallholders’ dairy farms called Community-based Dairy Veterinary Services (CDVS) through another USDA grant (BG-ARS-121) in 2006. We also received supports from two IAEA RCA projects (RAS/5/035, RAS50-44).
The CDVS delivered through farmers groups and associations laid out a foundation towards operating the programme self-financed, which is named Community-based Dairy Veterinary Foundation (CDVF). The Foundation in collaboration with farmers association and dairy processor runs the programme. The key to the success of the programme is inclusion of a dairy processor to ensure marketing of the milk produced by the farm community.