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Livestock Production in Nigeria

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livestock value chain


Nigeria, with a population of over 170 million people is grossly underprovided with essential food components like protein which is important for the realization and development of human potentials both mentally and physically. Data from the FOS, CBN, and FAO indicates that from cattle, less than 2kg of beef is available to an average Nigerian per year and just mere 4kg of eggs per annum is available to each Nigerian. In fact, milk production has been nose diving or at best has remained constant since 1994.

Livestock production is a source of employment and livelihood to many Nigerians. The livestock population comprises cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, poultry etc. The livestock system employed by the farmers is characterized by traditional system of production.

The major challenges facing the livestock sector are:

  • lack of capital,
  • storage facilities,
  • lack of reserved land for livestock farmers
  • Frequent theft.


Cattle are the most predominant and highly valued livestock in Nigeria. They are kept for beef, hide, and milk, for traction and for many as a status symbol. The domestic production and documented importation of cattle are, together, not enough to meet more than 60% of the actual demand. Transportation of cattle from the north to the south in Nigeria presents a daunting problem because it is both a costly and risky business. This provides opportunities for livestock producers to establish profitable livestock enterprises, because of the large increase in the demand for animal products.

The market for fresh milk products in Nigeria may be segmented into a number of classes by two main criteria namely Character (i.e. individual or corporate) and Income distribution.

The various activities of the Nigerian dairy industry (viz. milk production, importation, processing, marketing and consumption) have been going on in the country for over 100 years. These activities are, however, largely unorganized except for the relatively few processing firms that produce and market reconstituted milk products from imported powdered milk.

Though Nigeria is the largest producer of cow milk in West Africa and the third in Africa, the country is a net importer of the product and in order to increase the percentage of the livestock sector and local milk production in Nigeria, massive investment is required in the dairy industry to meet up with the 1.45 billion litres estimated national milk requirement.

Presently, the local production of milk is less than 1% of the total annual demand that has been estimated at 1.45 billion litres, making the total milk consumption in Nigeria less than 10 litres per head whereas the global average is about 40 litres per head. In other parts of Africa, it is 28 litres per head.

Dairy Industry Value Chain


livestock value chain


The Nigerian Dairy Sector

National production and consumption
National milk production (cow)  591,470 tonnes (2013)
Annual dairy consumption 1.7 million tonnes (2013)
Dairy consumption per capita (excluding butter) 8 kg/capita/yr.(2011)
Import of milk products, excluding butter (quantity) 952,919 tonnes  (2013)
Import of dairy products (percentage in proportion to domestic production) 75% of consumed dairy products are imported
Raw milk delivered for commercial use Up to 3%
Retail sales of drinking milk products 167,692.62
No. acheter viagra of cows 4,254,000 (2012)
Average yield per cow 0.7 – 1.5 l fluid milk per day from the traditional system
 No. of households involved in cattle breeding 327,000 households
Average number of cows/farm 13

Opportunities for Investors

  1. Shortage in supply: A gross shortage in the supply of cattle products (meat & Diary) at the moment from both local production and importation is an amazing opportunity for the livestock business.
  2. High demand for meat and dairy products: The domestic production and recorded importation of cattle are, together, not enough to meet more than 60% of the actual demand. This is an opportunity for potential investors to cash in on the gap in the supply of products.
  3. Need for Ranches: Cattle farmers in Nigeria are predominantly nomads and rural dwellers form the Northern region while the market for the products are in the southern part of the country. Incidentally, there have been fatal clashes between the farmers and their host communities in the southern region for grazing land. This clash for grazing land has presented opportunity for investors to setup ranches in the south to house these cattle for onward distribution to the vast market in the region.
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