Top ten milk producing countries in Africa, Kenya will surprise you

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Kenya, Sudan and Egypt also rank among the top milk-producing countries on the continent, all contributing significantly to Africa’s 13.4 million dairy farms. But despite the impression of mass industrial-scale farming, the average cattle herd is only 10cows strong

1. Ethiopia

Ethiopia has the largest cattle population in Africa, approximately 50.9 million animals with 55 per cent being female. Pastoral areas in Ethiopia are generally known as rangelands and cover about 0.7 million square kilometres.

According to FAO, in 2010, a total of 2,940 million litres of milk were produced from about 9.6 million cows at national level. Growth of milk production equals population growth which is around 110 million presently.

2. Sudan

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The number of camels, the main source of milk, in Sudan is estimated to be more than 4.6 million .The actual camel milk production in Sudan is estimated to be 59,000 tonnes per year. However, the potential of camel milk production in Sudan is estimated to be 1.7 million tonnes per year. Most of the produced milk is sold in Dakka at a price three times higher compared to cow’s milk.

3. Kenya

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Dairy supply chains in Kenya show a large variation in terms of size, geographical distribution, relative rewards, quality perceptions and long-term potential. Small-scale farmers supply more than 80 per cent of the total milk consumed in Kenya.

In total, the country has more than 600,000 smallholder dairies with Government support to the sector ensuring the country almost always meets demand. Kenyan dairy cattle population is about 4.3 million with an estimated milk production of 3.43 billion litres comprising 18 per cent of the three per cent global contribution by Sub-Saharan Africa.

4. Egypt

Local dairy breeds are not efficient milk producers, so the dairy industry is reliant on imports which are highly regulated by the government. Egypt, as a big market, consumes more than the local production. There are more than 300 private and public dairy production factories in Egypt. Currently, there are seven top firms in the Egyptian dairy sector. Last year 7.2 million tonnes of milk were produced.

5. South Africa

South Africa milk production process is similar to the US.  In SA, many dairy farms exceed 500 cows and use a Total Mixed Rations feeding system.  Most of the milk produced under this model goes to liquid consumption (60 per cent) and the remainder is processed into concentrated products (pre-packaged cheese and ultra-high temperature milk).The national herd is about one million dairy cows.

6. Zimbabwe

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According to statistics from the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers, milk production for the first six months of last year was up 12 per cent to 34.8 million litres from 31.2 million litres the previous year. The highest milk production was in January when 6.1 million litres of milk were produced, up 10 per cent from the previous year. February was the lowest at 5.3 million litres.

7. Nigeria

According to FAO, an estimated 183,000 rural households depend on the dairy industry. Livestock production contributes about 12.7 per cent of the agricultural gross domestic product in Nigeria. Pastoral communities produce the bulk of milk consumed in the rural and urban areas of Nigeria.

8. Uganda

Of the total milk produced in Uganda, 40 per cent is processed into various products, 45 per cent is sold in its raw form and 15 per cent is disposed. It is estimated that 80 per cent of the milk produced is sold through informal market channels. Small-scale farmers dominate Uganda’s dairy production owning over 90 per cent of the cattle population of Country.

9. Madagascar

It is estimated that 30 million litres of milk are produced annually in Vakinankaratra, about 90 per cent of national production. Only about 50 per cent of the milk produced in Vakinankaratra is collected by the two major dairy processors, and the other half is sold directly to consumers in the capital city or is processed and sold by small artisan units.

10. Tanzania

Tanzania milk production has increased by 400 million litres to 2.4 billion litres per year over 15 years to 2017, although consumption remains low at only 47 litres per capita per year. The country targets to achieve a 200 litre per capita consumption of milk as recommended by FAO but this is in contrast with the current yields which have proved insufficient to achieve this value

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