How To Start Dairy (Cow Milk) Farm In Nigeria

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Dairy farm is a lucrative business in Nigeria. Dairy  milk is one of the major sources of food nutrients for Nigerians. As the most populous nation in Africa with about 200 million people, Nigeria presents a larger market for dairy products. 

Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as Central Bank of Nigeria says Nigeria’s annual import bill on milk and dairy products is about $1.5b. Nigeria consumes about 1,3089797 tones of milk annually, only 523,599 tones were produced locally which represents 40%, leaving 785,398 tones which is 60% to importation with import bill of $1.5 billion. This presents a huge market to intending investors in local production of milk and dairy products in Nigeria. 

5 Resources an Entrepreneur Must Have at His Disposal to Harness Entrepreneurial Business Opportunity

Step 1: Carry Out Feasibility Studies 

Feasibility studies will tell you if the business opportunity is feasible at the given time and place or not. A business that was feasible yesterday in a given place may not be feasible today due to economic and environmental changes. Feasibility study is a precursor to business plan. 

Step 2: Acquire Needed Skills

You have to acquire necessary skills to run a successful business. You need both managerial and technical skills. Many businesses fail because the owners lack the basic skills to run the businesses. As a startup, you’re going to be master of all trades at the initial stage — you will get your hands on almost everything because you may not have the financial capacity to hire all the hands you require. 

Why Entrepreneurs Go for Cheap Labour

Step 3: Incorporate Your Business and Other Certifications

Formalize your business by registering it with Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission. You can register your business online within 48 hours. Can also register your business as private limited liability company with single shareholder

Step 4: Write Business Plan

Having carried out feasibility studies, acquired needed expertise, registered your business, it’s there time to write your business plan. Business plan is a document that outlines how you intend to run your business, requirements and projections. It allows you to create business operations on paper and manipulate and evaluate scenarios without the risk of investing resources. If you want to source your financial from deposit money banks and other financial institutions, you will need to present a business plan to convince them that your business idea is worthwhile. 

Step 5: Source For Capital 

Dairy farm is a very capital intensive enterprise. We know that the backbone of every business enterprise is finance. Once you’re able to lay your hands on capital, you’re good to go. 

Step 6 :Acquire land

Land is an important factor of production. You need to get a land. The size and price depend on your proposed dairy (milk) farm enterprise and location. 

Factors to consider in selecting a dairy farm site 

Step 7: Build Farm Structures 

The next important thing in setting up a cow milk farm after site selection is farm buildings and structures — proposed farm structures and buildings play important role in site selection. Correct housing is vital to the success of dairy farm enterprise. There are factors to consider for proper farms buildings and structures.

The structures that you need to build include:

  • Cow housing. There three types of cow housing: tie stalls, free stalls, pack barns. Dairy farms the have less than 50 cows use tie stalls, while those that have more than 100 cows make use of free stalls. Generally, the kind of housing largely depend on the choice of the owner, cost and amount of labour available. 
  • Milk storage house or tank, 
  • Store house: for storing feeds. You can also have building for storage of cow dungs and other wastes that can be used as fertilizer. 
  • office block
  • staff quarters (if there will be staff members that will live or sleep over in the farm) 

Step 8: Purchase Equipment

Having sourced for startup funds, you have purchase needed equipment for your diary farm. Some of the major equipment are:

Hay baler: As the name sounds, it is used to bale hay to feed the livestock. A batch of hay produced by hay baler can feed about 25 cattle. 

Water supply system

Electricity: Electricity is needed for lighting the farm. Cow milk farm handles electric equipment, adequate electricity supply is necessary. In the case of Nigeria where public electric power supply is not constant, provision for alternative power supply needs to be made. The two major sources alternative power supply are electric power generating set and Solar energy. 

Cool van: It’s needed for easy and safe transportation of milk. 

Milking Machine: Although you can do manual milking ,the use of milking machine makes the milking process easier and hygienic. There are two types of milking machine: single milking machine, and double milking machine.

Weighing scale/ machine: Weighing scale is needed to weigh the cows for sale or for examination. 

Heath management instruments: success of dairy enterprise largely dependent on the health of the cows and the health management practices adopted by the farmer. Animal health management and biosecurity is generally expensive. In modern dairy farm, you need mechanized tools for this. Some of the tools are automatic injector, vaccine carrier, vaginal speculum (obstetrical equipment for cattle).

  • Automatic Injector for large animals is a veterinary syringe used to administer dose of vaccine or medication to livestock.
  • Vaccine Carrier is a container used to safely store and carry vaccines.
  • Vaginal speculum is an obstetrical equipment used to explore vagina of large animals for diagnoses and other procedures. It can also be used for direct medication of the uterus or during urinary catheterization of female animals. It holds the labia open to allow the vagina vault to be easily viewed for swab taking. 

Breeding instruction: This is optional. If you intend to adopt artificial insemination in breeding your livestock, you therefore need Artificial Insemination Kit for Cattle. Artificial insemination is an assisted reproduction technique (ART) for livestock. Note: Only well-trained persons can handle it. 

See samples and prices of these equipment here.

Step 9: Get Your Breed

You can get your cow breed from any of the breeds in Nigeria. Cow breeds in 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. 

Read Problems of Beef and Dairy Production in Nigeria

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. These foreign breeds are:

a. Friesian

b. Brown Swiss

c. Jersey

d. Ayrshire

e. Guernsey

At this point, you have successfully set up your dairy (milk) farm but you have do the under listed to operate a successful dairy production enterprise. 

Step 10: Feeding of Cows

Provide good feeding for your cows for optimal milk production. Good feeding means providing grazing pastures, roughages with minerals and calcium, salt lick and clean water at all times. Provide your cows with groundnut hay, race bran, Guinea corn hay, cowpea hay, concentrates. During feeding, divide your cows in the following groups: 0-3 months, 4-6 months, young heifer/ breeder,  pregnant and lactating herds. 

Health Management and Biosecurity

 It is strongly recommended that you engage the services of veterinarians for disease prevention and control. Vaccinate your cows against specific diseases. Quarantine sick and new cows from the rest of the cows  to avoid introduction and spread of infectious diseases to other herds. 

Step 11: Milking 

This is the process of extracting milk from the cows. Milking machine has replaced hand milking. This makes the milking process easier and hygienic. 

Step 12: Marketing 

The last and very important step is to market your product. The success of dairy farm enterprise largely depends marketing. Marketing is the process of getting the dairy products into the hands of the consumers are the affordable and profitable prices. You can market your milk by selling to off takers,  directly to companies that process milk, produce milk products. 

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