How To Start Dairy Farming In Nigeria Or Africa: Complete Guide

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Dairy products make up an important part of our daily diet. Due to their richness in calcium and vitamins, they are the most recommended by health practitioners to be consumed by people daily.

Humans have been consuming dairy products from cows for thousands of years. And while modern dairy farming only began in the early 1900s after pasteurization was developed and practised, dairy product consumption grew quickly worldwide, except in most parts of Southeastern Asia and many parts of central Africa.

With over 264 million dairy cows worldwide producing nearly 600 million tonnes of milk every year, the dairy market is projected to reach and surpass a value of USD 703.5 billion by 2024.

Nigeria’s daily requirement of dairy products is largely met by 60 per cent imports and 40 per cent local production, with the annual import of milk and other dairy products, estimated at around $1.3 billion.

Despite the import statistic, Nigerian local milk production accounts for only 13 per cent of West African production and 0.01 per cent of the global dairy output.

Nigeria produces way below its capacity of dairy products and doesn’t export any dairy product, due to excessive low production, but the country has a huge demand for the product as ver 90% of the population consume dairy-based products everyday.

With the large opportunity present in the dairy farming business in Nigeria, Africa, and many places around the world, starting dairy farming in Nigeria is a great investment to make.

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What Is Dairy?

Dairy products are a type of food produced from or containing the milk of mammals. They are primarily produced from animals such as cattle, goats, sheep, etc. Dairy products include food items such as milk, cheese, butter, etc. A facility that produces dairy products is known as a dairy or dairy factory.


What Is Dairy Farming?

Dairy farming is a type of agriculture that deals with milk production, via extraction of milk (from dairy cows), to the processing into different forms like butter, yoghurt, cheese, ice cream, and others, for consumption and commercial purposes.

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Business Opportunity In Dairy Farming

1). Food Source:

Dairy products are an important part of the daily diet of humans and animals, especially for growing children. Therefore, it is widely recommended and demanded

2). Production Of Confectionaries:

Confectionery industries use dairy products as vital ingredients

3). Production Of Beverages:

Dairy products are used in the production of beverages

4). Production Of Food Supplements:

Due to its high Protein and Vitamins content, dairy products are a great source of food supplements


Facts And Benefits Of Dairy

  • Dairy products are highly demanded due to the high level of calcium and vitamins present in them
  • Dairy products help in building and maintaining strong bones
  • Dairy products help to reduce the risk of a heart disease
  • Dairy products can help maintain a healthy weight
  • Dairy products contain anti-cancer properties
  • Dairy products help in eye care
  • The United States is the largest cow milk producer, New Zealand is the largest cow milk exporter, while China is the largest cow milk importer
  • Dairy products protect people from calcification of the joints, thus containing anti-arthritis properties

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Types Of Dairy Products

1). Liquid milk:

This is the most consumed, processed and marketed dairy product worldwide. Liquid milk includes products such as pasteurized milk, skimmed milk, standardized milk, reconstituted milk, fortified milk.

2). Fermented milk:

This is commonly used in the production of other milk products. They are obtained from the fermentation of milk using suitable microorganisms to reach a desired level of acidity. Fermented products include yoghurt, koumiss, Dahi, labneh, ergo.

3). Butter And Ghee:

Butter is produced by churning milk or cream. Ghee is obtained by removing the water from the butter.

4). Cheese:

They are produced through the coagulation of milk protein, which is separated from the milk’s whey. Cheese can be soft, hard, semi-hard, hard ripened or unripened.

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How To Start Dairy Farming In Nigeria: Step By Step Guide

Major things to consider when starting dairy farming in Nigeria include;

1). Planning:

You need to estimate the cost of acquiring the tools and resources required for farming, such as land, tools, dairy animals, labour, etc. Adequate information for running the farm should be gotten, as well as where all resources would be sourced from.

Also consider where the animals would graze, where they’ll be housed, and as well, milking and storage

2). Breeding:

Breeding is a major factor to consider when starting up a dairy farm, as you would want to get the best out of the animals. Also, proper information on crossbreeding should be gotten before the actual process

3). Hygiene:

In a dairy farm, hygiene is very important, as it determines the quality of the dairy products, as well as helping maintain the health of the animals. All processes should be done with high hygienic standards.

4). Production:  

Dairy cows start producing milk when they are about 24 months old.

The cow conceives and gives birth, after which she would produce milk actively for about 10 months. After 10 months of milk production, the cow rest for about 2 months and then repeat the process.

The first step of the process involves cows which are sent to grass fields. After the stage of grazing, cows will produce milk twice a day, thanks to the use of a special milking machine.

Raw milk from cows is then stored in refrigeration facilities to ensure that its best quality is maintained. A milk tanker is then used to deliver stored milk to Dairy daily. 

The Dairy is where industrial and manufacturing techniques are required to create finished milk. After this step, finished milk will be delivered in two ways: It can be processed one more time to produce cheese, cream, and butter.

5). Storage and packaging:

Storage is essential for keeping the products in the best condition. The temperature has to be perfect for the products, in other to maintain full quality. Products like butter should be properly packaged to avoid exposure to any form of heat.

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Challenges Of Dairy Farming 

Some of the challenges of dairy Farming in Nigeria includes;

  • Low milk output by Fulani cows
  • Poor grass quality which affects cow milk production
  • Inadequate funding
  • Cow pests and diseases
  • Lack of storage and processing facilities
  • Unsanitary methods of milk handling
  • Breakdown of processing plants
  • Inefficient milk collection 
  • Unhealthy competition 
  • Poor pricing mechanism 
  • Poor management policies 
  • Lack of economic incentives from the government
  • Lack of mechanized equipment
  • Lack of investments
  • Poor funding for research
  • Lack of ranches for adequate grazing


To Sum It Up

Dairy products have an inexhaustible demand and are a huge part of daily food diet of over 90% of the humans alive today. The high demand creates a large industry with immense opportunities, and so, makes starting a dairy farm in Nigeria, Africa, or anywhere around the world a great move to make.

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