Problems Of Beef And Dairy Production In Nigeria

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 Problems Of Beef And Dairy Production In Nigeria 

Beef and dairy are essentials in our daily nutritional needs, and it’s also lucrative business opportunity; unfortunately, Nigeria is not self sufficient in production of beef and dairy. Nigeria still import especially milk. The problems of beef and dairy production in Nigeria are not farfetched, they ar

1.      System of Farming 

2. Lack of Knowledge 

3. Poor Health Management And Biosecurity Practices

4. Lack of Access to Land

5.     Lack of Investment

6. Breeds And Breeding Procedures

7. Insecurity

8.     Inadequate Processing and Storage Facilities

9. Inadequate Extension Services

10. Government Policy inconsistency on Livestock

11.    Market Failures 

Extensive Or Traditional System Of Production: Nigerian cattle farmers practice traditional cattle rearing system. Under the extensive system, the animals rely on grazing on the open range grounds with the change of seasons. There are no cultivated pasture on which to feed the animals and there is no supply of feed. The cattle are moved from one location to another by nomadic husbandmen covering long distances in search of pasture. In most cases, this results in a very low level of production (both beef and milk) because the cattle lose weight (average weight of Nigerian breed is 550kg for bulls and 463kg for cows), milk and their maturity is delayed, milking is not carried out regularly and more often than not, there is no record for milk produced by each cow. 

Breed and Breeding: Another problem of beef and dairy production in Nigeria is the cattle breeds in Nigeria. Most Nigeria breeds of cattle are kept for both beef and milk. These breeds do not produce much quality and quantity of milk. The breeds indigenous to Nigeria are:

a. Bunaji

b. White and Red Fulani 

c. Kuri 

d. Red Bororo 

e. Wadara 

f. Sokoto Gudali 

g. Muturu 

h. Shuwa Arab

The breeds in Southern Nigeria known as African Dwarf, do not produce milk. 

There are exotic dairy breeds that produce high quality and quantity of milk. These breeds are not found in Nigeria, although some of them have been brought to Nigeria for crossbreeding with the Nigerian cattle in order to improve the production level. Read how to upgrade Nigeria indigenous breeds of beef and dairy cattle. These foreign breeds are:

a. Friesian

b. Brown Swiss

c. Jersey

d. Ayrshire

e. Guernsey


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Friesian Cow 


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Jersey Cow



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Brown Swiss Cow

There is need to improve on the quality of the breeds especially for dairy production.

Lack of Knowledge: Most of the people engaged in beef and dairy production in Nigeria are not educated, thus lack knowledge of modern techniques and technologies in beef and dairy production that can increase the  quality and quantity of their productions. Farmers need knowledge, skills, management capacities, and health and extension services. 

Also read: Challenges Of Self-employment For Nigerian Graduates

Poor Health Management and Biosecurity: Poor health management and biosecurity have adverse effects on beef and dairy production. They lead to high morbidity and mortality rates. Nomadic method of rearing does not encourage veterinary care for the cattle. Health management and biosecurity for both beef cattle and dairy cows are expensive, and therefore requires capital investment. 

Health management and biosecurity for beef cattle and dairy cows 

It so advisable to engage the services of veterinarians or animal health assistants in herd health management.

Curing a disease outbreak in herd is costlier than preventing it as they say “prevention is better than cure.” Therefore, beef cattle producers should pay attention in identifying health related issues with cattle. Good herd health program should start from when the cow is pregnant before the calves are born. Some of the health management programs to be carried out include:

1. Vaccination against diseases 

2.     Quarantine sick and incoming animals 

3. Control of internal and external parasites 

4.Control of flies by use of pour-ons and back rubs. 

Biosecurity is an important on-farm practice for beef producers to use in preventing entering and spreading of diseases in their farms.  Biosecurity provides the necessary tools for managing and minimizing risks of diseases in farm animals. Implementing biosecurity practices in the beef subsector will be of benefits to both producers and consumers.

You may like to read: Factors Responsible for Gender Differences in Entrepreneurship Development in Nigeria

Biosecurity measures to  be taken in beef and dairy  farm 

  1. Manage the introduction and movement of cattle in a way that minimizes       the risk of introducing or spreading infectious disease.
  2. Isolate every incoming livestock and get information on where it’s coming from, its previous medical history.
  3. Screen all persons, equipment coming into the farm to prevent introduction and spread of infectious disease. 
  4. Make sure that feed is free from contaminations. 
  5. Make sure water is managed or treated to reduce risks of transmitting disease agents. 
  6. Monitor livestock regularly to prevent it control animal diseases in the farm. 

Clean milk production 
Clean milk production depends on the milker, the cow, the milking utensils/ equipment used including the milking place and handling of milk. There for they should be healthy, clean. High level hygiene should be maintained on diary farm. 

Lack of Investment: Investment in beef and dairy production in Nigeria is very little. Beef and dairy enterprise is a capital intensive one. Unfortunately, individual and corporate investors neglect to invest in cattle business, living it for the poor and primitive who lack the capacity to meet up with the national consumption demand. Why most of the nomadic husbandmen have not embraced housing of the herds is lack of financial assets to set up ranches. The Southern Nigeria sees it as a Northern Nigeria (Hausa-Fulani)  business. Read 5 resources an entrepreneur must have at his disposal to harness entrepreneurial business opportunity

Insecurity: Open grazing has resulted to herders, crop farmers clashes. Sometimes cattle trespass and graze on crop farm lands, destroying farm crops. This leads to clashes between the herders and the crops farm owners. These clashes have led to serious insecurity where both the farmers and herdsmen are afraid to go about their normal businesses for fear of attacks and reprisal attacks. This affects cattle production in Nigeria. Another aspect is cattle rustling, where criminals steal cows in grazing field. Some herders now carry arms to protect themselves and their cattle from rustlers. It’s also unfortunate that some criminal elements amongst the herdsmen commit different crimes with the arms they carry endangering the lives of the genuine herders and their herds. 

The Solution 

To solve the insecurity problem, the government should engage the herders and crops farmers on conflicts resolution. Government should introduce national livestock program that will ensure that cattle beef and dairy cows producers are empowered with adequate knowledge and skills, working capital to improve their productions.

Cattle farmers should embrace ranching system of husbandry. Read advantage and disadvantages of ranching 

The southerners should not see it as Hausa-Fulani business. 

The government at all levels should engage the herders and crops farmers on conflicts resolution and peaceful coexistence. There is no way all herders will establish ranches at the same time. 

The government needs to engage the services of more extension workers to educate the herders on beef and dairy production. 

The hybrid cattle especially dairy cows should be made available to the producers. 

The cattle farmers need to take the issue of cattle health management and biosecurity very seriously.

There should be huge investment into beef and dairy production by individuals and corporate bodies. The companies who are into milk and other dairy products production should establish their own dairy farms in Nigeria. 

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