GOLDEN HAR­VEST Op­por­tu­ni­ties for milk pro­duc­tion, trans­porta­tion and mar­ket­ing in Nige­ria

Daily Trust - - GOLDEN HARVEST - By Muham­mad l. Yahuza

Nige­ria with a pop­u­la­tion of over 170 mil­lion is grossly un­der pro­vided with es­sen­tial food com­po­nents like pro­teins which are crit­i­cal for the re­al­i­sa­tion and de­vel­op­ment of hu­man po­ten­tial both men­tally and phys­i­cally. Data from var­i­ous sources in­di­cate that less than 2kg of beef is avail­able to the av­er­age Nige­rian per year and just a mere 4kg of eggs per year. With re­gards to milk, the avail­abil­ity is far less be­cause of low pro­duc­tion and high prices.

To ame­lio­rate the prob­lem of low pro­tein in­take, there is need for con­certed ef­forts to bring about a mas­sive pro­duc­tion of pro­tein-based foods such as milk through in­vest­ment in live­stock pro­duc­tion.

Al­though, Nige­ria is the largest pro­ducer of cow milk in West Africa and the third in Africa, the coun­try is still a net im­porter of the prod­uct. The es­ti­mated de­mand of milk in Nige­ria is about 1,529,354.4 tons an­nu­ally. Lo­cal pro­duc­tion on the other hand, from the pro­jected 22, 750,000 head of cat­tle out of which only 3,640,000 would be lac­tat­ing is just 920,920 tons per an­num. Thus, the es­ti­mated gap be­tween sup­ply and de­mand is about 608, 434 tons an­nu­ally.

Var­i­ous in­ter­ven­tions have been tried in Nige­ria to en­cour­age and com­mer­cialise milk pro­duc­tion. Gov­ern­ments at var­i­ous times have es­tab­lished com­mer­cial dairy farms with mainly im­ported Friesian cat­tle and sup­ple­mented this with milk col­lec­tion schemes.

Pro­cess­ing plants were es­tab­lished to take in the lo­cally col­lected milk in­clud­ing that which has been pro­duced on the farms. Still, milk pow­der and but­ter oil had to grad­u­ally re­placed the lo­cally pro­duced prod­uct. This was con­se­quent to high cost of main­tain­ing im­ported dairy cows and low ge­netic po­ten­tial of the lo­cal cat­tle in­clud­ing poor feed­ing. As a re­sult, the projects col­lapsed. An­other ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to the fail­ure of the lo­cal dairy industry, was the high value of the naira which favoured im­ports over lo­cal pro­duc­tion.

How­ever, the in­tro­duc­tion of the struc­tural ad­just­ment pro­gramme in 1986 cou­pled with the de­val­u­a­tion of the naira sig­nif­i­cantly al­tered the rel­a­tive price in­dex of im­ported dairy prod­ucts. The re­sult of this was the shift­ing of the com­par­a­tive ad­van­tage of the dairy industry to lo­cal pro­duc­ers. The World Bank un­der the closed Sec­ond Live­stock De­vel­op­ment Project, al­lo­cated funds for pi­lot dairy de­vel­op­ment and built up milk col­lec­tion co­op­er­a­tive as­so­ci­a­tions to pro­vide raw ma­te­rial for the SLDP sup­ported dairy plant in Kaduna. The Kaduna Milk Pro­duc­ers Co­op­er­a­tive As­so­ci­a­tion was es­tab­lished in 1992 with its prod­ucts mar­keted un­der the brand name of MILCOPAL. The pro­gramme had two ma­jor com­po­nents: a com­mer­cial com­po­nent com­pris­ing of a cen­tral milk pro­cess­ing plant, that pro­cesses lo­cally col­lected milk from pas­toral­ists into var­i­ous dairy prod­ucts, owned by the Co­op­er­a­tive Fed­er­a­tion, and a de­vel­op­ment com­po­nent that was re­spon­si­ble for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, reg­is­tra­tion, train­ing and ex­tend­ing new tech­nolo­gies to farmer or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The pro­gramme be­came a huge suc­cess. About 40 co­op­er­a­tive milk as­so­ci­a­tions were reg­is­tered in Kaduna State and seven vi­able milk col­lec­tion routes were es­tab­lished. The av­er­age daily col­lec­tion ranged be­tween 400 to 1,320 litres in dry and wet sea­sons re­spec­tively. On see­ing the po­ten­tial of the scheme in in­creas­ing in­come and cre­at­ing jobs in the ru­ral ar­eas, the KDSG agreed to sell the Kaduna Dairy plant it in­her­ited from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment at a dis­counted price, to the um­brella or­gan­i­sa­tion of the co­op­er­a­tives. The World Bank put up the bill. In ad­di­tion to the com­mer­cial ben­e­fits that ac­crued to the par­tic­i­pat­ing co­op­er­a­tive so­ci­eties, the project pro­vided job op­por­tu­ni­ties to young sec­ondary school leavers in the re­mote ru­ral ar­eas who were em­ployed as sec­re­taries of the pri­mary co­op­er­a­tive so­ci­eties. Their salaries were paid from the com­mis­sion that each so­ci­ety gets from the quan­tity of milk it sup­plied to the Co­op­er­a­tive Fed­er­a­tion.

The Kaduna Milk Co­op­er­a­tive Fed­er­a­tion, the um­brella or­gan­i­sa­tion has been of great ben­e­fit to pas­toral­ists that par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gramme. Women no longer had to hawk milk in the mar­kets, since col­lec­tion is at their door steps. The pro­gramme also en­cour­aged seden­ter­i­sa­tion as pas­toral­ists leave some cat­tle in the graz­ing re­serves dur­ing their dry sea­son tran­shu­mance.

Repli­ca­tion of the milk co­op­er­a­tive de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme will bring im­mense eco­nomic ben­e­fit to the coun­try. It will re­duce im­ports, in­crease lo­cal in­come, ad­dress is­sues of ru­ral poverty and un­em­ploy­ment, en­cour­age seden­ter­i­sa­tion and save for­eign ex­change.

The gov­ern­ment of Muham­madu Buhari has com­mit­ted it­self to the de­vel­op­ment of the agri­cul­tural sec­tor as a means to re­duce poverty and pro­vide em­ploy­ment. There­fore, the gov­ern­ment should se­ri­ously con­sider mak­ing a co­op­er­a­tive dairy de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme a top pri­or­ity in its agri­cul­tural agenda. In­dia, a coun­try that has about 10 times the pop­u­la­tion of Nige­ria is to­day self-suf­fi­cient in milk pro­duc­tion through a farmer-based co­op­er­a­tive milk de­vel­op­ment pro­gramme.

Dr. Yahuza can be reached at lawanyahuza54@ya­hoo.com

ASTC dear­ing farm in Plateau State

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