ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia is developing its investment in dairy production and export market to increase foreign currency earnings.

Recently, The Ethiopian Herald has met experts in the sector to discuss on the overall trend in dairy production development, dairy market opportunity, and its significance for socio-economic benefits.

Milk production has increased linearly in the last decade, which flickers a gleaming hope that the nation is on the right track to utilize its dairy potential.

This is mainly attributed to the increase in market-oriented dairy system stimulated by interactive elements such as dairy investment reforms, expansion of milk processing industries, and rapid urbanization, according to Ministry of Livestock and Fishery.

Ministry’s Dairy Market Director Tariku Teka said per capital milk consumption of the country was 19 million liters in 1993, which rose to 40 million liters in 2015.

This is mainly attributed to the increase of milk production, import of milk and milk products.

The booming urbanization and income growth of the Ethiopian population lead to shifting consumer preference to diversify their diets, among which demand for dairy products is already high.

With regard to dairy as food and nutritional security, Tariku said that it is highly important for proper growth and health maintenance of children, youth and adults.

Milk is considered as a food of high nutrient density, providing essential nutrients.

Important nutritional contents of milk and milk products include fat, protein, lactose, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin, niacin (or niacin equivalents) and vitamin D, he added.

According to Tariku, cow milk is also recognized as an excellent source of high-quality protein.

It contains about 3.5% protein by weight, which accounts for about 38% of the total solids-not-fat content of milk, and contributes about 21% of energy of whole milk.

Of the total protein in cow milk, about 80% is casein and 20% is whey protein, he noted.

Tariku also said casein can be fractionated electrophoretically into four major components: alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and kappa-casein.

It is generally defined as the protein precipitated at pH 4.6 that is a property used in the manufacturing of cheese.

Lactose is the principal carbohydrate in milk, which accounts for approximately 54% of the total solids-not-fat content and contributes about 30% of the energy (calories) of whole milk.

Cow’s milk contains about 4.8% lactose (12 to 12.5 g lactose/cup) compared with 7% (15 to 18 g lactose/cup) in human milk.

In addition, highlighting the challenges and opportunities of the livestock security, Tariku said though we have large livestock population, their productivity is low because of shortage of supply of animals with good genetic potential, poor supply of feed in terms of quality and quantity, inadequate animal health service and drug supply system, lack husbandry and technology practice and shortage of market access among others.

June 29, 2017: Ethiopia Herald