Olumide Oyebamiji Writes on Making a Case for the Development of the Nigerian Dairy Sector

Halima is an adolescent girl who lives in a pastoral community in Northern Nigeria. Each day she wakes up at 5:00am to help her mum with house chores and to milk her father’s cows. At 7:00am, instead of going to school, Halima departs on her hawking route, to sell fura da nono and maishanu (locally processed raw milk products), making between N500-N1,000 per day. She usually returns late in the afternoon, in time to help her mother prepare dinner for the family. Halima wants to go to school, but formal education is out of reach as her parents cannot afford it and need the income she contributes daily, though it is meagre. Also, every year the entire household migrates from the North to the South in search of pasture and water. This will be Halima’s routine until she is given away in marriage. Halima is not alone. Millions of women and girls from pastoral communities in Nigeria are engaged in the informal dairy industry. Despite the labor-intensive nature of the work, the financial rewards are insufficient and will not move smallholder pastoralists out of the bottom of the wealth pyramid.

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