To develop the dairy industry in Nigeria, the Nigerian dairy value chain remains a crucial part of this process. In dairy production, it goes beyond rearing dairy cattle and animals or collecting fresh milk. The production is a comprehensive process, and it cut across the rearing of dairy cows, feeding, milking process to further processing into other dairy products, marketing, and distribution. The major goal of the dairy value chain is to ensure efficiency in dairy production, availability of milk and dairy products at all seasons, and also avoid wastage which is crucial for any agricultural produce.
The Nigerian dairy value chain remains underdeveloped and in a staggering position. This explains why a huge amount of money and resources are spent on the importation of milk and dairy products in the country. This problem as prompted a need for a major turnaround in not just the production of milk but also in value addition and proper distribution. With a change in the Nigerian dairy value chain, there will not just be readily available milk products for Nigerians; it will also steer up employment opportunities, increase revenue, and social-economic development for rural farmers and the country.
Understanding dairy value chain
To take action and truly get involved in the progress of dairy value chain in nigeria, there is a need to understand the concept, its importance, challenges, various components, and how to make the value chain in the dairy sector even better. Firstly let us start by defining what the dairy value chain truly means?
What is a dairy value chain?
Like every other agriculture subsector, the dairy value chain refers to various stages and processes where dairy products pass from farm to consumer. This comprises different stages of value addition/chains, such as production, process, and marketing. It is the overall activities that are necessary to produce and also add value to milk. With the dairy value chain, we can further get other products beyond the various types of milk, such as yogurt, cheese, butter, ice cream, and many more.
Dairy value chain level and process
The value chain in the dairy industry includes different levels of production, like production of raw material(i.e., dairy farming and milk production), processing, distribution, and marketing. It also includes the dairy Supply chain management, stakeholders, and network of establishments involved in the upward and downward chain.
Dairy farming(rearing of cows)
Dairy value chain in Nigeria
Like dairy production in Nigeria generally, the dairy value chain in Nigeria also suffers a significant setback of underdevelopment. Today the value chain is still unproductive and insufficient. Despite the size, the value chain has been unable to create a proper value chain network to maximize its full potential and meet the ever-increasing demand for dairy products in the country.
Currently, commercial farmers account for just 5% of total local milk production, while pastoralists or small-scale farmers account for 95% of the production. Milk and dairy products are produced mainly by this pastoralist and end up consumed by farmer’s households or just a small fraction of local markets. Most times, the value chain end with the distribution of local dairy products such as nunu (sour milk), Kindirmo (sour yogurt), Manshanu (local butter), cuku (Fulani Cheese), and Wara (Yoruba cheese). These are great products if improved upon. Unfortunately, this product is restricted to the local market and just a very minute percent of the total country’s population.
Challenges of the dairy value chain in Nigeria
Is there any work left to be done by us? The answer is yes. Enormous challenges are facing the Nigerian dairy value chain. This include:
- Underdevelopment and crude method of production
- Lack of farmer’s access to processors and key stakeholder.
- Unfavorable competition from milk importation
- Limited access to credit and cost-effective financing
- Informal process product
- Product wastage and loss due to perishable nature of locally processed dairy products
- Limited access to basic production needs such as water, quality feed, veterinary service, improved genetic breeds, drugs, and vaccines.
These are few of the many challenges facing the dairy vain in Nigeria. Private firms like Farmcenta have created innovative solutions in tackling this problem. Through our extension and aggregation service, we have connected small-scale farmers to standard processing companies, educated farmers on modern production techniques, provided credits and finance, and also innovative technology and production tools.
Importance of Nigerian dairy value chain
There are several opportunities the dairy industry in Nigeria has to offer. Considering the rate of urbanization, growing human population, increased demand for milk consumption, income generation, and employment opportunities. With a properly managed dairy value chain, We expect the Dairy sector to play a significant role in the country’s economy due to its vast potential to increase income, employment opportunities, and food securities.