How Fresh is our Milk?

If you purchase milk for your child, bowl of cereal, or coffee in Nigeria, it is highly probable that it is powdered milk or liquid milk reconstituted from imported powdered milk. The majority of people in Nigeria have never had a glass of fresh milk unlike in many other countries in the world.

The Nigerian dairy industry is highly underdeveloped, relying heavily on the importation of dairy products worth about US$300 million per annum, which meets the majority of the 1.45 billion li-tres domestic demand of dairy products. In Nigeria, every dairy company relies on imported pow-dered milk. They either import and repackage powdered milk or reconstitute imported powdered milk into liquid milk and other dairy products.

The domestic production of milk continues to be hampered by low milk yields of domestic cattle, low levels of cattle nutrition, animal health challenges, poor management and husbandry practic-es, and low utilization of improved livestock technologies. In 2013, it was estimated that Nigeria produced only 591,470 MT of milk from 2.3 million cows. The country’s average daily yield per cow is 0.5-2 litres from indigenous breeds, which is very low in comparison to 35-40 litres in South Africa, 50 litres in New Zealand, and 70 litres in the U.S.

The dairy industry in Nigeria is composed of different segments, the largest being repackaged powdered milk, followed by evaporated tin milk. Most locally produced dairy products such as yoghurt and ice-cream are based on reconstituted powdered milk; though some indigenous com-panies make use of imported powdered milk blended with locally sourced fresh milk in their products. From the supply side, most of the available supply of fresh milk is in Northern Nigeria due to its larger population of cattle and conducive weather conditions.

In order to help boost milk production, the Federal Minis-try of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has conducted Artificial Insemination (AI) training for dairy farmers and also inseminated about 5,000 cows at select-ed farms across the country, over the past two years. This effort is focused on developing improved hybrids that are sturdy enough for the climate and have the capacity to generate higher daily yields of milk.

June 1, 2015

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