CAMEROON – Cameroon has unveiled a comprehensive development plan valued at US$500.2 million (CFA305.7 billion) to boost national milk production by 2035.

The Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries, and Animal Industries (Minepia) approved this strategic plan on June 18, 2024, highlighting that it aims to increase milk production from less than 200,000 tons to 1,146,600 tons over the next 11 years (2024-2035).

The plan, developed over two years by the Cameroon Veterinary Offices and Pharmacies Society (Caphavet) and funded by German cooperation (GIZ), includes six key programs: genetics (US$182.4) million, feed US$118.9 million, housing, health and welfare (US$151million), milk processing (US$23.8 million), research and development (US$8.1million) and governance (US$15.7 million).

According to the Ministry of Livestock, the plan involves all stakeholders in the dairy sector, including the government, breeders, processors, collectors, distributors, and consumers.

“Through this plan, the government aims to reduce dairy product imports significantly, explained Dr. Albert Douffissa, who coordinated the plan’s development.

In 2022 Cameroon’s milk production was 173,000 tons, according to the Ministry of Livestock.

However, the National Confederation of Cattle Breeders of Cameroon (Cnebcam) estimates the national supply at 185,570 tons per year, far below the demand of around 300,000 tons. This results in an annual deficit of nearly 120,000 tons, partially offset by dairy product imports.

According to Minepia data, Cameroon’s milk production increased by 5% from January to August 2023, reaching 110,374 tons.

The National Institute of Statistics (INS) reported that in 2023, Cameroon imported 20,596.1 tons of milk and derivatives for CFA40.6 billion and 17,217.9 tons of powdered or concentrated milk for CFA35 to fill the gap in national production.

Cameroon acquired 495 dairy cows from France between 2020 and 2023 to address this shortfall as part of the Livestock Development Project (Prodel), funded by the World Bank with CFA78.4 billion over six years. Despite these efforts, Cameroon grapples with an annual production deficit of approximately 120,000 tons of milk.

The government hopes these measures will reduce the need for costly imports of dairy products, which currently amount to nearly 20 billion FCFA per year.

Market research forecasts a modest growth of 0.2% year-on-year in Cameroonian milk production, reaching 250,950 metric tons by 2026, up from 248,020 metric tons in 2021.

Since 1966, the country has experienced a steady rise in milk production, with an average annual growth rate of 0.2%.

In 2021, Cameroon was ranked 113th globally in terms of milk production, and it aims to enhance its standing in the coming years.

According to the National Institute of Statistics, the country faces challenges such as a rising cost of dairy products, with a 10.7% price increase reported in 2022, expected to persist in double digits by the end of the 2023 fiscal year.

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