The Nigerian dairy sector is characterized by a cattle ownership structure of 95% belonging to Fulani pastoralists and 5% to sedentary farmers with significant imports from Chad, Niger and other neighbouring countries.
Local milk production significantly declined over the years due to the closure of several plants, conversion of existing plants to recombination units, heavy and uncontrolled importation of milk powder and finished products such as cheese, butter, ice cream and yoghurts. The presentation examined the current situation and challenges facing the Nigerian dairy sector and proposed strategies for sustainable development.
Current Situation of the Nigerian Dairy Sector
- Current Annual Demand of Milk(Litres): 1,100,000,000
- Estimated Annual Production (Litres): >400,000,000
- Annual Demand/Supply Gap (Litres): 700,000,000
- Estimated cost of milk / dairy imports: Over US$ 500million annually
- Milk production is not the main business of pastoralists (on account of their diversified livelihood base)
- 99 % of locally produced milk by Fulani herds is sold through informal market outlets
- Most processing facilities are for “recombination” processes Prospects
- Strong potential demand for dairy products both at high and low ends of the economic scale
- Favorable ecologies to produce fodder crops in mixed farming systems
- Availability of under-utilized land on which improved pasture cultivation could be an appropriate form of land use
- A long–standing tradition in dairy production and high appreciation of fresh local dairy products
- Supportive government policies and leasing out state owned lands such as in Jos, Plateau state
- Growth of urban well-off and middle classes
- Wealthy individuals willing to invest in agriculture but are unsure of where to invest Strategies for Sustainable Development
- Strengthening of milk marketing; milk collection and assured payment by commercial processors.
- Strengthening of productivity enhancing Services; Animal health and artificial insemination (AI) services.
- Capacity building; of the Dairy Value Chain (input supply, dairy farms, milk collection centres, milk processing, distribution and marketing channels of dairy products).
- Strengthening of extension delivery mechanisms; establishment of pilot/reference farms and organisation of dairy field days / demonstration events.
- Facilitation of inputs (feed, drugs, and implements) and infrastructure (water supply, forage production and supplementary concentrate feeding).
- Promote upgrading schemes including crossbreeding.
- Promote access to credit facilities.
These strategies are expected to result in raising significantly the current level of local milk production and contribute to the creation of on- and off-farm jobs along the DVC. Challenges
The following were identified as challenges to dairy development
- Unorganized fresh milk collection, processing and marketing channels.
- Nomadic (mobile) nature of the Fulani herders.
- Lack of good quality pastures and grazing areas.
- Poor productivity status of indigenous cattle breeds.
- Poor nutrition of lactating cows.
- Massive importation of cheap powdered milk.
- Lack of national capacity and skills in dairy farm management.
- In order to overcome these challenges the following measures will be put in action;
- Facilitate establishment of full-service milk collection centers (MCC’s) for industrial processing of raw milk into value added products – Yoghurt, evaporated milk, etc.
- Development of a national breeding policy for dairy sector development in Nigeria.
- Selection and breeding of local breeds for improved milk traits.
- Restricted upgrading using Jersey, Brown Swiss or Holstein Friesian breeds for the upgrading of local herds.
- Encourage private sector investment participation in Artificial Insemination/bull holding center operations.
- Restrictions on the importation of cheap powdered milk and other milk substitutes with corresponding inclusion of minimum 10%, 30%, 50% of locally sourced milk as local content of all milk products of reconstituted /recombination factories in the next 5 to 10 years.
- Finally, partnering with states governments on advocacy for increased milk consumption – an example is the inclusion of milk and milk products with meals in school feeding programs.