Nigeria’s target of moving milk production to 2000 litres per day per lactation cow from the current level of below 500 litres per day per lactation cow may not succeed if the structural challenges experienced during the 2013 Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES) programme for dairy value chain are not urgently addressed in 2014.
In order to fix these challenges, “A scheme has been designed for linking private sector processors to domestic milk supplies and increasing national annual milk output from 469,000mt to 1.1 million metric tons via strategic organisation of smallholder milk producer cooperatives in clusters around milk processors,” Ezenwa Nwakonobi, desk officer for dairy value chain in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, explained.
Yet, “Many other problems which include few redemption centres and their farther location from farmer clusters, inability of selected manufacturers and agro-dealers to meet feed supply demand of livestock farmers, and frustration of farmers due to futile frequent visits to redemption centres for feeds also need to be addressed in 2014,” said Nwakonobi.
According to Ademola Raji, director, department of animal production and husbandry services in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the ministry plans to even do more by upgrading milk production levels in indigenous cows through a combined breed improvement approach, involving feed supplement and artificial insemination of lactation cows with high productivity semen.
The Ministry of Agriculture has in recent times launched a strategic initiative with the aim of ensuring structural shifts in Nigeria’s dairy industry and turning the country into a major player in local milk and milk products supply, while creating wealth for dairy farmers, in addition
to many jobs through associated commercial activities along the national dairy value chain.
One of such initiatives is the capacity building scheme for dairy value chain Subject Matter Specialists (SMSs) that is currently being driven by the ministry in eleven states across the country.