Expanding Obudu Cattle Ranch Diary Farm To Meet Growing Demand For Diary Products BY EMMANUEL ETIM

In Breaking News, Business & Economy, Columnists, National News, Opinion, Politics
Emmanuel Etim
Emmanuel Etim

Recently, the Governor of Cross River State Senator Benedict Ayade unveiled plans as part of his signature projects to establish a Super Farm at the Obudu Mountain Resort. In line with this, my treatise will take a look at an opportunity which has both precedence and potential for success and will create jobs and contribute to the growth of the economy of Cross River State especially in the northern senatorial district of the state.

Follow me patiently through this journey of discovery of great economic opportunity in Cross River State.

The Obudu Cattle Ranch (presently known as Obudu Mountain Resort) is a ranch and resort located in Obanlikwu Local Government Area of Cross River State. It was developed in 1951 by Mr. McCaughley, a Scot who first explored the mountain ranges in 1949. Mr. McCaughley camped on the mountaintop before returning with Mr. Hugh Jones a fellow rancher who, in 1951, together with Dr. Crawfeild developed the Obudu Cattle Ranch according to Wikipedia.

Obudu Mountain Resort is not only known for providing top-of-the-range accommodation and conferencing facilities but also for the dairy farm. The ranch provides a good environment for cattle rearing as the climate on the ranch is the semi-temperate mountain climate and the vegetation provides good material for feeding cattle. Cattle are bred on the ranch for dairy products like fresh milk, butter, meat, and cheese, and these are available at the dairy section daily.

The diary section has however not thrived very well over the years as the Cross River State Government has sought ways to make it independent and profitable and has not succeeded thus far. The purpose of this treatise is to explore the opportunity to expand the diary farm in the ranch through private investment to meet the growing demand for dairy products in Nigeria.

Dairy farming is a class of Agriculture for long-term production of milk, which is processed (either on the farm or at a dairy plant) for eventual sell off as dairy products. Although any mammal can produce milk, commercial dairy farms are typically one-species enterprises. In developed countries, dairy farms typically consist of high producing dairy cows.

Dairying in Nigeria dates back to the mid 20th Century. In 1945, the last colonial Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, H.H. Wells, reported to the Home Office in London that Her Majesty’s Empire in Nigeria had developed much interest in dairying and was supplying cheese and butter to Allied Forces in Morocco. Although traditional dairying in Nigeria started centuries ago, industrial dairying is recent.

The Nigerian dairy industry represents an important component of the agribusiness sector of the economy with great economic, nutritional, and social implications. Dairy products provide the most important amino acid required for body building as well as tissues repairs in human beings.

Nigeria is the largest milk producer in West Africa and the third largest producer of cow milk in Africa. Reports indicate that Nigeria has the potential of becoming the largest milk producer in Africa. Using improved methods of milking, storing, processing, packaging, and transporting, milk output can be raised substantially for internal use and for export.

The dairy sector has emerged the second largest segment in the food and beverage industry in Nigeria with estimated revenue of N347 billion in 2013 and an estimated compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8 per cent over the last three years. The Nigerian dairy industry consists of six major market segments: Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese, Ice Cream, Butter and Infant Formula.

A report by Agusto & Co. revealed that the milk segment is the largest in the industry and accounts for an estimated 61 per cent of the industry’s turnover. The report added: In 2013, demand for milk was estimated at 1.7 million tonnes, about 1.2 million tonnes in excess of domestic supply, which was estimated at 591,470 tonnes. Imported milk powder accounts for over 75 per cent of the Industry’s input. Nigeria spends roughly $1m a day on imported milk powder, according to Sahel Capital, a private equity group.

Expanding the dairy industry in Nigeria through private investment can provide millions of jobs for Nigerians. In a market in which there is strong population growth and in which the dairy products category is far from mature, the growth prospects continue to be strong. The economy is expected to see good growth over the forecast period, with disposable incomes expected to increase; thereby boosting consumer confidence.

The prevalent market price of milk in Nigeria stands at about N200,000 per tonne and with a demand of about 1.7 million tones, the industry turnover is about N340 billion per annum. With such exciting opportunity in the industry, there is no gainsaying that there is urgent need to expand the diary farm in Obudu Cattle Ranch to meet modern dairy farm standards and contribute to meeting the growing demand for dairy products in Nigeria, create jobs for Cross Riverians and contribute to growth of the Cross River State economy.

With the proposed construction of the Calabar Obudu Super highway, moving products from the dairy farm and factory on the ranch to the state capital Calabar and other parts of Nigeria will be an easy task. Also with flights restored to the Bebi Airstrip, movement of persons and goods to and from the ranch will become effortless.

I am thus using this platform to call on leading players in the industry and investors inside and outside Nigeria to seize this exciting opportunity to invest in a modern dairy facility in Obudu Cattle Ranch. Cross River State Government has provided a favorable investment environment in the state by maintaining a consistent investment policy direction and putting in place adequate incentives for investors in the state.

The Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency, Sen. Prof. Benedict Ayade is a business minded Chief Executive with a passion to changing the economic fortunes of Cross River State and is thus poised to support and/or partner with willing investors to ensure the success of businesses in Cross River State.

Let me also use this medium to thank all my friends and business associates who have been reaching back to me on these treatises and who have shown willingness to invest in Cross River State. I want to assure you that choosing to invest in Cross River State is a great decision and the Cross River State Government and people welcome you. I wish you a rewarding venture in the state.

Emmanuel Etim is a development consultant based in Nigeria. (emmanuel.etim22@gmail.com)

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