About Dairy

Dairy is a vital part of the global food system, providing economic, nutritional and social benefits to a large proportion of the world’s population. .
5 Jobs

For every 100 litres of milk produced locally, up to five jobs are generated


Milk is one of the most nutrient-rich foods, containing calcium, proteins and minerals among other relevant nutritional components


Global livestock production accounts for 40% of the value of world agricultural output

150 million

Globally, around 150 million small-scale dairy households are engaged in milk production

+ 2.2% / Year

Milk production is steadily growing: +2.2% on average every year since 2000

1 Billion

Up to one billion people derive their livelihood from the dairy sector


With up to one billion people living on dairy farms, dairying plays a major role within the economies of numerous communities, regions and countries across the globe.

Factsheets in this chapter of the IDF ‘Benefits of Dairying’ project provide information on a wide range of topics, including dairy products’ contribution to global trade, employment opportunities generated by the dairy industry and dairy in a global economy.



Milk and dairy products are healthy foods. Being naturally nutrient-rich, they can serve as good sources of calcium, protein and other essential nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B12, and riboflavin1.

– Nutrient-Rich Dairy Foods and You
Dairy Foods – Helping to Nourish the World


As one of the largest global agricultural industries, the dairy sector not only contributes to local, regional, and national economies, but also plays an important role in the sustainability of rural communities throughout the world, in both developing and developed countries.

Dairying and sustainability of rural areas
Dairy’s contribution to food safety and food security
Dairying and the Environment