Tack­ling Nige­ria’s hur­dles to milk

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SABO NANONO, NIGE­RIA’S MIN­IS­TER of agri­cul­ture and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment has con­firmed that plans are un­der­way to ban milk im­por­ta­tion by 2022. The min­is­ter made the dis­clo­sure dur­ing the com­mem­o­ra­tion of the 2020 World Food Day in Abuja on...

SABO NANONO, NIGE­RIA’S MIN ISTER of agri­cul­ture and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment has con­firmed that plans are un­der­way to ban milk im­por­ta­tion by 2022. The min­is­ter made the dis­clo­sure dur­ing the com­mem­o­ra­tion of the 2020 World Food Day in Abuja on Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 14.

Ac­cord­ing to Nanono, Nige­ria has the ca­pac­ity to meet the re­quired milk pro­duc­tion to sus­tain the pop­u­lace and the gov­ern­ment is mak­ing ef­forts to en­sure the ban is car­ried out as planned.

The min­is­ter stressed that the coun­try has 25 mil­lion cows with a ca­pac­ity to pro­duce five mil­lion litres of milk per day.

“I see no rea­son why we should im­port milk in the next two years. We should stop the im­por­ta­tion of milk,” he added.

He in­di­cated lo­gis­tics as the chal­lenge presently af­fect­ing milk pro­duc­tion in the coun­try and con­cluded that the gov­ern­ment is set­ting up milk pro­cess­ing plants across the coun­try to con­trol the sit­u­a­tion.

Prior to the min­is­ter’s dec­la­ra­tion, God­win Eme­fiele, gover­nor of the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria (CBN) had in 2019 be­moaned the spate of fin­ished and raw milk im­por­ta­tion, which he stated cost the coun­try be­tween $1.2 bil­lion and $1.5 bil­lion an­nu­ally. Ac­cord­ing to him, an im­por­ta­tion ban on milk and other dairy prod­ucts would serve as a panacea to boost lo­cal pro­duc­tion and in­crease the coun­try’s in­vest­ment in its ranches.

Lim­its in dairy pro­duc­tion/value chain de­vel­op­ment

The pro­posed pol­icy not only ap­pears to be a fea­si­ble goal if prop­erly planned be­fore im­ple­men­ta­tion, it also com­ple­ments the gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to­wards self-sus­te­nance in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor. How­ever, re­search anal­y­sis and opin­ions by nu­tri­tion­ists and other ex­perts sug­gest other­wise.

Ac­cord­ing to a 2018 world cat­tle in­ven­tory re­port by the United Na­tions Food and Agri­cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion (UNFAO), Nige­ria had a cat­tle pop­u­la­tion of 20 mil­lion, ac­count­ing for 1.36 per cent of the global to­tal and mak­ing it the fourth-largest cat­tle pop­u­la­tion in Africa af­ter Ethiopia, Su­dan and Tan­za­nia. The in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion noted that of the coun­try’s to­tal herd, 11.5 per cent is used for dairy, while 88.5 per cent is con­sumed as meat.

The re­port noted that un­like other coun­tries that prac­tice ranch­ing where cat­tle herds are raised on large tracts of land, most Nigerian cat­tle rear­ers prac­tice the tra­di­tional no­madic sys­tem where cat­tle are moved across dif­fer­ent ar­eas in search of pas­ture. This doesn’t pro­ject the Nigerian cat­tle breed­ing in a pos­i­tive light as stud­ies show that milk out­put of no­madic cat­tle is usu­ally lower than that of cat­tle man­aged in spe­cially built units where feed­ing is con­trolled.

A 2019 re­port by the Fed­eral Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture na­tional dairy out­put per an­num is 700,000 met­ric tonnes, while the na­tional de­mand is put at 1.3 mil­lion met­ric tonnes an­nu­ally, leav­ing a gap of 600,000MT, an in­di­ca­tion that the coun­try’s dairy con­sump­tion far out­weighs its pro­duc­tion.

Asoko In­sight, an African mar­ket in­tel­li­gence and cor­po­rate data provider noted that lo­cal milk pro­cess­ing in Nige­ria is done on a very small scale in which milk got­ten from the cat­tle is used in the pro­duc­tion of the lo­cal milk known as ‘nunu,’ and lo­cal cheese, pop­u­larly known as ‘wara’ by the lo­cal in­di­genes. How­ever, to pro­duce milk on a com­mer­cial scale, a large per­cent­age of milk in­puts used by com­mer­cial pro­ces­sors is im­ported due to the lim­ited por­tion got­ten from the pas­toral­ists.

Fur­ther anal­y­sis shows that Nige­ria’s dairy pro­ces­sors im­port milk pow­der and re­con­sti­tute it into liq­uid milk and other dairy prod­ucts such as yo­ghurt, ice cream and con­fec­tioner­ies. These dairy prod­ucts are im­ported from New Zealand, Aus­tralia, South Amer­ica, the EU, In­dia, Ukraine, Poland, and other smaller sup­pli­ers.

Multi­na­tional firms such as Fries­land­foods (Nether­lands), Glan­bia (Ire­land), have ei­ther part­nered or ac­quired some in­dige­nous dairy firms for re­con­sti­tut­ing and pack­ag­ing im­ported milk pow­der fur­ther sti­fling the in­dige­nous pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies from mak­ing an im­pact­ful head­way in the dairy in­dus­try.

Muham­madu Abubakar, manag­ing di­rec­tor, L&Z In­te­grated Farms, Kano thinks Nige­ria is not yet pre­pared enough to ac­tu­alise self­sus­te­nance. He noted that milk pro­duc­tion in Nige­ria is more ex­pen­sive than im­ported milk.

Ben Lan­gat, manag­ing di­rec­tor of dairy pro­ducer, Fries­land-Camp­ina WAMCO noted that the un­ortho­dox fresh milk col­lec­tion by lo­cal cat­tle breed­ers, lack of in­fra­struc­ture and mod­ern dairy farm­ing, and ab­sence of en­abling poli­cies are con­trib­u­tory fac­tors to the un­pleas­ant sit­u­a­tion in the dairy sec­tor.

Sa­hel Con­sult­ing Agri­cul­ture and Nu­tri­tion Lim­ited, a lead­ing African agri­cul­ture plat­form in its as­ser­tion on the Nigerian dairy in­dus­try stated that ev­ery dairy com­pany in the coun­try re­lies on im­ported pow­dered milk. It con­cluded that the do­mes­tic pro­duc­tion of milk con­tin­ues to be im­peded by low milk yields of lo­cal cat­tle, an­i­mal health chal­lenges, low lev­els of cat­tle nu­tri­tion, poor man­age­ment, crude hus­bandry prac­tices, and low uti­liza­tion of im­proved live­stock tech­nolo­gies.

Un­lock­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties of sus­tain­able milk pro­duc­tion in­dus­try

A re­search jour­nal ar­ti­cle ti­tled, “Ma­jor Is­sues in Nige­ria Dairy Value Chain De­vel­op­ment’, au­thored by a group of re­searchers from the Na­tional Agri­cul­tural Ex­ten­sion and Re­search Li­ai­son Ser­vices, Ah­madu Bello Univer­sity, prof­fered some rec­om­men­da­tions ca­pa­ble of bol­ster­ing the Nigerian milk and dairy pro­duc­tion sec­tor.

The study stressed on the need for ur­gent gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion in the dairy in­dus­try to en­sure proper post-har­vest han­dling and mar­ket­ing. It fur­ther stated that in­creas­ing the na­tional dairy pro­duc­tion with value added pro­cess­ing would con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to re­duc­ing the ris­ing costs of dairy im­ports, which would in turn pro­vide in­come sources to do­mes­tic dairy farm­ers and all those in­volved in the dairy value chain.

The study also in­di­cated dis­trib­uted database tech­nol­ogy as hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on ru­ral dairy data man­age­ment in the up­com­ing years be­cause dis­trib­uted database sys­tems have many po­ten­tial ad­van­tages over cen­tral­ized sys­tems, es­pe­cially for ge­o­graph­i­cally dis­trib­uted projects. It also sug­gested that the Nigerian Live­stock De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (NLDP) and other in­dige­nous stake­hold­ers work closely with the Dairy Records Man­age­ment Sys­tem (DRMS) to de­velop modal­i­ties for set­ting up dairy data ser­vice cen­tres in Nige­ria.

In ad­di­tion to the graz­ing re­serve mod­els and other tra­di­tional pas­toral de­vel­op­ment mod­els in Nige­ria, the Small and Medium En­ter­prises De­vel­op­ment Agency of Nige­ria (SMEDAN) iden­ti­fied some farm char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion that should be pro­moted in Nige­ria to fos­ter milk pro­duc­tion. This will re­quire col­lect­ing data on the milk pro­duc­tion, goals, feed­ing sys­tem and pro­duc­tion con­straints and iden­ti­fy­ing cat­tle breed­ing strate­gies, which will re­quire the ser­vices of sev­eral ex­perts to achieve.

Ben Lan­gat sug­gested ac­cess to fi­nance and credit fa­cil­i­ties, ac­cess to land for pas­ture as a pos­i­tive step to­wards the self-sus­te­nance goal.

He also rec­om­mended im­proved re­search in ve­teri­nary ser­vices and an­i­mal nu­tri­tion as well as tech­nolo­gies for har­ness­ing dairy farm­ing.

Ed­u­ca­tion and en­light­en­ment of small­holder farm­ers on the ne­ces­sity of es­tab­lish­ing ranches is an­other area Lan­gat rec­om­mended as a vi­able ac­tion to­wards en­hanc­ing self-suf­fi­ciency.

Mod­ern Te­chol­ogy Cow Milk­ing

Tran­di­tional man­ual Cow Milk­ing

Sabo Nanono

God­win Eme­fiele

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