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Friday, December 23, 2016

Emerging business opportunities in dairy farming.

The dairy market in Nigeria is wide with an exponential growth with increasing population. Nigeria is one of the the biggest markets for milk consumption as evidenced by the numbers of foreign players in the sector in the country. The annual demand of milk consumption in Nigeria is estimated at 1.7 million metric tons while importation value is placed at 1.2 million metric tons,showing that local production accounts for only about 30% of the demand. The need to bridge this gap has prompted many farmers to sort out ways to boost local milk production,the need to increase locally produced milk is further championed by the government's directive that 10% of the milk should be sourced locally. The dairy industry is plagued by the following constraints and if these are addressed they production capacity will be so high that export will be possible.There production of other by-products such as cheese,butter and yogurt will be increased such that these can also be exported to generate forex. The number one constraint is the breed available in the country,these indigenous breeds are not producing enough milk compared to exotic breeds. Dairy farming is multi factorial relying on several factors to be a success. The success of dairy is connected to breeds,feeding and management practice. When cows are not fed adequate ration and management style is free range,such production style is flawed as the cows cannot thrive and hence cant produce enough milk. Nutrition is key,without a balanced ration,milk production will be low. The management aspect can be traced to breeding, if heat season is missed,or cows are infertile because of one disease or the other,then no pregnancy,no calving and no milk. When cows are mated and the calving is monitored,if calf management is not part of farm practice then calves will be left with dams which invariably will reduce milk yield from the farm as dams will be nursing the calves with milk meant for commercial purposes. The revamping of the industry will be facilitated by 1) introduction of exotic breeds to improve our breed-lines and expand milk production. The white Fulani is known to produce about 10 liters of milk a day as against the Holstein-Friesian with a capacity of about 30-50 liters a day. Breeding with exotic bulls promotes more production and even more calving rates on farm. Artificial insemination is the method used in various countries to improve their breeds,this is also practiced on some farms in Nigeria but the percentage is small such that impact is invisible. Education on improved feeding techniques and management practices will also increase yield and productivity of herd,especially adoption of zero-grazing will turn the scale as it will improve and increase yield. The training on production and innovative branding of by-products will also generate more revenue and make more dairy products available and accessible to citizens as well as export options.The ever increasing population with more demand for dairy and dairy products makes this agribusiness a profitable venture.