CAMEROON – The government of Cameroon, has imported more high-yielding dairy cows from France in an effort to boost its local milk production.

Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries, Dr Taiga received the cows which number 165 at the Garoua International Airport in the country’s Northern Province.

 These animals were acquired by the Cameroonian government through the Livestock Development Project, Prodel, funded by World Bank.

Prodel is a world bank-backed project that was first created in 2016 to improve and increase milk production capacities in Cameroon, help farmers access veterinary services as well as obtain high-quality outputs.

The first batch of the 165 heifers was received in October 2020 making the latest contingent the second of its kind to enter the country. A third batch of 165 dairy cows is expected in the country in ten days, according to Dr Taiga.

The heifers are of the Montbeliarde breed and are pregnant. According to specialists, their milk production is estimated at 40 litres per day.

Upon reception, the cows are to be transported to the governmental zootechnical station where they will acclimatize in seclusion for about 3 weeks before being transferred to the regional capital of the North

Ceva Santé Animale, a France-based animal health company, has organised training sessions for the stakeholders such as farmers and veterinarians as well as a supply of drugs for the cow’s reproduction management.

Once the acclimatization period is over, the cows will be distributed to various farms based on the terms of the Prodel.

“We aim to provide national producers with high-performance breeding stock. The animals are intended for all dairy farms dedicated to this sector throughout the country” Dr Tiage said to the national radio.

According to official data, Cameroon has a milk deficit of 120,000 tonnes per year due to low local supply which fails to meet the demand.

Consequently, the government spends almost CFA20 billion (US$33,138,300) every year to import dairy products further creating a deficit trade balance.

Prodel however hopes to reverse this by helping farmers acquire high-yielding cows as well as the technical knowledge of maintaining such cows.

World Bank contributed CFA6.06 billion (US$10M) to the Prodel project with partnering financial institutions contributing about CFA2.62 billion.

 The remaining CFA1.44 billion (US$2.4M) was from beneficiary producer organizations, according to a report in 2021.

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