West Africa alone imports more than 2 million tons every year

With 15 billion milk consumed in 2010 and 25 billion estimated in 2020, Africa holds the highest demand for milk in the world.

Coming to continental level, East Africa (43%) and North Africa (34%) are the two main centers of African milk production while West Africa (8%) and Central Africa (4.1%) have a dairy under-production in Africa.

"West Africa alone imports more than 2 million tons every year for an astronomical expenditure of nearly 400 billion CFA francs. The flagship product of its imports is still the milk powder with Nigeria 1st rank of importer," regrets Professor Ayao MISSOHOU, Chairman of the Scientific Commission of the Inter-State School of Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Dakar (EISMV) speaking on Tuesday during the introductory session on milk value chain in West and Central Africa on behalf of the celebration of the 50 years of EISMV.

African milk not really competitive

After the diagnosis, Pr. Ayao focused on a few factors favoring this situation. According to him, the high growth of these imports is due to the strong urbanization of African countries resulting in an increasingly selective food. 

Another aspect is the price of locally produced milk (650 CFA / liter in Ouagadougou against 225 CFA for milk powder (reconstituted) imported).

The forms of milk consumption in Africa are: raw milk, curdled milk, Wagashi (Peulh cheese) and Mauritanian Zrig.

Value chains are made up of raw milk, which accounts for around 90% of local production in major capitals, with producers, importers (large multinationals: Nestle, ...) selling the surplus of European in Africa and SMEs.

What is your proposal to correct this imbalance?

Professor Ayao MISSOHOU then proposed prospects for developing and protecting the consumption of raw milk.  The first area of intervention is animal feeding, which constitutes a major constraint in breeding ponds, hence the high cost of production.

As an adaptation strategy, he proposed the promotion of forage crops such as elephant grass (miscanthus), fodder cowpeas and brachiria to feed cows.

The second area of intervention is the improvement of the genetic potential of breeds by importing seed of heifer breeds to mate with local breeds so that we produce exotic breeds much more efficient.

Other possible perspectives include the development of dairy policies through the establishment of a supra-ministerial body; the regulation of the sale price to dairies which remains very high in capitals (case of Senegal); the abolition of value added tax on the processing of raw milk.

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