Members of the Cattle Breaders Association of Nigeria (CBAN) on Wednesday lamented that the potentials of dairy farming were being underutilised for adequate nutrition of the citizens.
They made the lamentations in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
The association’s Secretary, Mr Rasaki Adeagbo, said that many Nigerian farmers focused more on rearing cows for meat and neglected the dairy aspect.
“Many farmers have not been breeding cows for the purpose of milk collection because they think it is not lucrative.
“They are driven by the huge market demand for beef, not knowing that they can make more money from milking the cows and selling to big dairy companies.
“They can even process the milk into yoghurt for sale if they can invest in the processing equipment,’’ he said.
Mr Sheu Garba, a cattle dealer at the Mile 12 market, said he had never ventured into dairy farming because he was contented with the returns he got from selling cows.
“There is huge demand for beef in our country; it is either for consumption in various homes or for pastries in corporate eateries.
“There was a time when we had only one brand of beef roll popularly known as `Gala’.
“Right now, many other companies have ventured into the eatery business.
“The large number of super stores springing up now also devised means of selling frozen beef.
“We make as high as 60 per cent profit on a cow, depending on the size,’’ Garba said.
Mr Sani Hadeija, another cattle farmer, said that dairy farming had been left for the Fulani herdsmen who merely milk the cows and sell the milk as “Fura-de-nunu’’ or “wara’’ (cheese).
“Dairy farming in Nigeria has become hereditary, a business solely for the Fulani tribe.
“Many cattle farmers often do not want to venture into it because of the complexities of handling cows and understanding their mood for milking.
“They were brought up on dairy farming while some inherited it from their parents,’’ he said.
Mr Yahaya Gunjugu, a cattle farmer, told newsmen that the enormous challenges confronting the farmers often limited their business potential.
“Cattle farming for dairy are labour and management intensive as many of us still use the traditional process of milking the cows with bare hands.
“Another problem is how to guarantee the quality of the milk produced since we do not have modern milking equipment.
“Transporting and marketing raw milk also constitute major problem.
“We rear the cows in the rural part of the North but our major market is in the South.
“Harsh weather conditions and diseases outbreak have also been limiting our output,’’ he said.
Gunjugu urged government at all levels to empower dairy producers by providing them with modern milking and pasteurising equipment to improve the quality of their milk.
“The value chain of dairy farming is huge; we can process the milk to yoghurt, butter and to cheese.
“We can also process it into baby formula to create a nourishing infant meal for our children,’’ he said.