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Africa’s dairy sector: A vision of sustainability and economic growth

The African dairy sector is undergoing significant transformations, driven by both global and local efforts to boost sustainability, productivity, and market access.

Nestlé, one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies has been instrumental in promoting sustainable practices within the global dairy value chain. Globally the company works directly with over 200,000 dairy farmers across 27 countries, integrating these smallholders into their global supply network. One of these countries being Nigeria.

Parallel to corporate initiatives, international research organisations like the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock are innovating on the ground in countries such as Tanzania. The program focuses on integrating high-impact technologies such as disease-resistant forage varieties and efficient animal health management practices. These innovations are not only increasing milk yields but are also ensuring that dairy farming can be environmentally sustainable and economically viable.

The Tanzanian project, Maziwa Zaidi, provides a notable example of how targeted interventions can enhance the value chain. The project uses a basket of technologies tailored to local conditions, which have already shown promise in scaling up productivity and improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. This integrated approach is a shift from the traditional single-technology transfer model, aiming instead for a holistic improvement of the dairy sector

In Nigeria, the sector’s transformation is characterized by significant investments by both local and international firms. Companies like FrieslandCampina WAMCO and Danone’s Fan Milk have launched extensive backward integration projects. These projects not only aim to boost local milk production but also foster a strong market for dairy products, reducing the need for imports and enhancing food security. The investments include setting up state-of-the-art dairy farms and processing facilities that create thousands of jobs and promote local economic development.

The importance of market access in these initiatives cannot be overstressed.

Such comprehensive development strategies are crucial, given the challenges the African dairy industry faces, including inadequate infrastructure, low productivity, and limited access to markets. These issues are compounded by the need for more significant investment in the sector and better regulatory frameworks to support growth and sustainability.

Associations like our partner, the Commercial Dairy Ranchers Association of Nigeria (CODARAN), provides a platform for advocacy, networking, and public relations that significantly contribute to the growth of the dairy industry in Nigeria. By organizing trade missions, seminars, and conferences, CODARAN not only fosters knowledge sharing but also builds capacity among farmers, helping to standardize and elevate local dairy production practices to meet global standards.

With ongoing innovation, investment, and international cooperation, the dairy industry in Africa is set for growth. This collaborative effort among multinational corporations, local associations like CODARAN, governments, and NGOs brings with it a new era of prosperity and sustainability in the dairy sector.

The importance of market access in these initiatives cannot be overstressed. By enhancing the connectivity between producers and consumers, both locally and internationally, these projects help stabilize prices, improve income security for farmers, and ensure consumers have regular access to high-quality dairy products.

Market Access Africa is the place where buyers and sellers meet. If you are one of these stakeholders, contact Marko Chirwa (

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