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Milk in Africa: Production and milk powder with palm oil

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), indicates that Africa with 3 billion head of cattle and a production of ± 48 million tonnes of liters of milk, is far from self-sufficiency in dairy production. on a consumer product with or without transformation and on a continent of ± 1.2 billion inhabitants.

Consumption (± 40 L/year) resulting from local self-consumption (pastoral ethnic groups), local processing (curdled milk), does not make it possible to define the actual production, the total collection rate (CIRAD 2020: Only 1 to 7% of local milk is collected in West Africa) which would be favorable to the development of dairy production. We find the problems related to transport infrastructures and the development of companies and industrial infrastructures, allowing an optimized collection.

The low level of public investment does not allow optimization of local production, and manufacturers do not make the effort to optimize collection, they resort to imports of powdered milk. We can add a very wide variety of local processed milks (cow, goat, etc.) and types of consumption, which does not allow industrialization for each country of products consumed locally.

There are also upset dietary habits due to the growth rate of urbanization of African populations, so consumers are most often subject to purchases of imported dairy products, gradually changing their original dietary patterns. Since the 1980s, when imports coincided with the development of African metropolises, there have been great similarities in the choices offered for everyday consumer products.

"In Gabon in the same years, the country saw the birth of the agro-industry of bakery production, so the "white bread baguette" came to replace the cassava stick, and at the height of bakery production, it was more than 2 million baguettes of white bread which were produced per day, that is to say as much as the population of Gabon at the time."

Milk has this advantage of being able to be consumed with a multitude of transformations, only the tastes of consumption can make a difference, it is not a food that could substitute for another, as cassava could have been by the bread.

Imports of palm oil milk powder

Other factors weaken local dairy production on the continent, such as imports of powdered milk used by processing industries, whether whole, mixed or enriched with palm oil fat (INRA 2018 , Vincent Chatelier: Imports of €5.7 billion, i.e. 10%, and 18% of mixtures of skimmed milk and powdered vegetable fat)

Palm oil, a controversial product banned from processed products in Europe, is therefore found in milk powder. We can consider that the milk powders that are accessible to bush populations is direct competition with local production. Indeed, milk producers suffer from climatic hazards (lack of water), and access to non-existent financing and collection from industries that does not exceed 20%.

In order to reach consumers, development is at the expense of local production, in the use of powdered milk imports, where selling prices can be 50% cheaper. Thus imported milk powders are transformed, the processing giants extract the fat from the milk in order to use it in the manufacture of butter for Europe, and replaces it with palm oil.

Africa with the increase in its demography is subject to a strong demand for food, all products combined. Thus Europe and the industrial groups present on the African continent, use the most optimized production and import methods, but also controversial (palm oil), in order to penetrate and maintain a presence in the most remote regions. .

But there is always a glimmer of hope on initiatives, which even if they are done on a local scale, have the merit of showing the way, for food self-sufficiency, and in particular in dairy production.

In Senegal, the Laiterie du Berger created by Bagoré Bathily in 2004, with "Investisseurs & Partenaires and Danone.communities" as partner, was born with the objective of collecting and optimizing local production. Thus the products collected optimize local production and are transformed into various consumer products.

Today La laiterie du Berger with 500 jobs, collects from 900 producers.

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