Milk production in Nigeria below expectation — Official

Milk products to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: Food Safety Helpline]
Milk products to illustrate the story. [Photo credit: Food Safety Helpline]

Milk production in Nigeria is not commensurate with the huge cattle production in the country, the permanent secretary Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Mustapha Umar, has said.

Mr Umar spoke on Thursday in Abuja at the Fourth Global Dairy Congress Africa which held under the theme “Accelerating the Investment and Cooperation of Dairy in Africa. ”

The Global Dairy Congress is an annual event where national and international stakeholders in the dairy sectors gather to interface and share ideas and experiences on topical issues.

The event also showcases products for the growth of the dairy sector.

It is the most influential diary event in Africa and enables dairy stakeholders to gain first-hand information on the opportunities for investing in the African dairy sector.

This year’s event held as Nigerians are still grappling with the now politically volatile issue of pastoralism.

The Nigerian dairy industry is largely subsistent and consists of milk production, importation, processing, marketing and consumption.

Nigerian cattle contribute a conservative estimate of 50,000 litres to daily supply. The consumption of aggregated and bulk milk is less than 20 per cent of local potential.

Nigeria’s milk production accounts for only 13 per-cent of West African production and 0.01 per-cent of global diary output.

The daily requirement is largely met by 60 per-cent imports and 40 per-cent local production.

The permanent secretary said the rudimentary status of the Nigerian dairy value chain is a major constraint to increased milk production.

Mr Umar said Nigeria’s annual imports of milk and other diary product is currently estimated at $1.3 billion.

He emphasised the need to address national herd management issues.

“There is a need to foster sub-sectoral growth, one that is inclusive of smallholders farmers. This requires buy-in from national and multi national stakeholders, ” he said.

The director of the department of animal husbandry at the ministry, Bright Wategiri, said the dairy industry has an ever-increasing demand for milk and milk products.

“Nigeria’s livestock account for one-third of the agricultural GDP. it provides food, employment, farm energy, manure and transport, ” he said.

Mr Wategiri said the Nigerian government was at the stage of implementing a livestock transformation plan that allows space for international investors in the Nigeria diary industry.

He estimated the number of cattle to be 20 million and about 100 million hectares of arable land and other resources. He said these will promote livestock production in Nigeria.

On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Sunday Akpan, said the attention of the ministry had been drawn to the challenges in the dairy sector.

He said a policy would be developed by the concerned agencies and ministries to help grow the sector.

“Due to the challenge in the sector, the FMITI and other relevant MDAs will combine efforts to develop the diary policy,” he said.

According to him, the policy will help strengthen the entire value chain and other sectors as well. He said it will attract more investments across the value chain.

Also, the director, Friesland Campina WAMCO Peak milk producers, Ben Langat, said the major challenge in the dairy sector is poor infrastructure.

” You cannot do anything without access to roads, electricity, water and security. Once you have all these in place, the private sector will be able to play,” he said.

“We have the ideas and experience on how to do it. The industry should not be killed with lots of taxes,” Mr Langat said.

He said his company was ready to partner with the government to expand dairy development in Nigeria.

“Our project is to mobilise pastoralist communities, because that is what makes the bulk of the cows where productivity lies, and to introduce the smallholder model of getting farmers who will produce milk from their locations,” he said.

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