This briefing suggests how markets in artisanal milk products may contribute to agropastoralist livelihoods in semi-arid Africa. In some of these areas, milk plays important nutritional and cultural roles, but production is declining due to environmental changes. Very small-scale local markets have responded to demand for milk products, offering limited livelihood opportunities to groups with low capital, including women. Participation in small markets based on the perceived high value of heritage dairy products may be more realistic than high-volume sales. Yet, weak infrastructure and institutional frameworks impede agropastoralists’ participation in any kind of market. The Policy Briefing accompanies the project photoset (https://doi.org/10.19088/IDS.2023.016).