Weeks after the official commissioning of a milk processing plant by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammad Sabo Nanono, at Tassa village in Dawakin Kudu Local Government Area of Kano State, Daily Trust has gathered that the facility is yet to commence operation due to low supply of milk.
The mini milk processing plant was built by the federal government in support of individual initiative aimed at mitigating numerous challenges nomadic herders encounter on daily basis in the course of their ancestral business. It was inaugurated on Saturday, October 26, 2019.
However, when Daily Trust visited the plant recently, it observed that the facility is currently grappling with low supply of cow milk to facilitate take-off and full operation.
For the over three hours that Daily Trust was at the site, only five people supplied the firm with a few litres of the product.
According to findings, the 500,000 litre capacity milk processing plant was built to produce pastuerised yoghurt as well as serving as a conduit point for uptake of fresh milk by other milk processing companies within the state and beyond.
Speaking, the chairman, Kano Diary and Livestock Husbandry Cooperative Union, Malam Usman Abdullahi Usman, said the facility had already started its phase 1 operation which entailed collection of fresh milk for onward distribution to up-takers.
He added that the plant is hoping to start the second phase which is full production of yoghurt and many other dairy products very soon.
Usman however noted that many cattle rearers around the area were not aware that the facility had started skeletal operation.
Our reporter learnt that at the moment, the collected milk is forwarded to small-scale processors in the city as a way of building and retaining customers.
Usman told our reporter that the facility received supply from clusters of cattle herders from different herder communities around the state with their major supplies coming from Falgore forested region.
Kano dairy cooperative is an umbrella body of over 70 registered clusters.
Speaking about the motive that necessitated the establishment of the plant, Usman said. “This place was opened to produce hundred percent fresh cow milk yoghurt, then part of the plan is to sell it raw to up-takers. We process it into sweetened yoghurt. We intend to do ‘fura da nono’ then butter, these four are the major products we intend to produce from here.”
He said at the moment, any quantity collected at the plant was sold to up-takers, some of whom came from Zaria in Kaduna State.
He said the milk they collect from Falgore would be pasteurised into yoghurt.
Usman also said the plant was test-run only once, a day after its official commissioning where about 500 litres of fresh cow milk was pasteurised into yoghurt which is currently on sale in their shops in various locations within the city.
“Apart from this place, we have our outlets. So after we pasteurize here we take the product to our outlets for sale. We have outlet at Kwanar Dawaki. So this is just a centre for milk collection. We sell fresh milk to up-takers from here.
Thirdly, it is a centre for pasteurizing and production of yoghurt which we have not started in large volume yet.
Usman identified lack of cooling system for fresh milk as another major constraint the facility is battling.
He said for optimum operation to be achieved at the plant, there must be a chain of cooling system from the farm to the up-takers.
“From the ‘ruga’ to this facility, we do not have cooling system. The herders have to rush with the milk so that it doesn’t spoil using motorcycles. When it gets here, we carry out our analysis then we pasteurize it or we distribute it to hawkers.
“So what I am telling you is that it is only in this facility that we have chiller. We do not have cooling van or cooling tank that we can use to transport fresh milk to up-takers in Zaria. We use taxi service to transport our products that is why we are yet to go into mass production,” Usman added.
Also commenting, the ward head of Yan’ Barau village, Ciroma Hassan, lauded the federal government and the management of the company for the project, saying it would go a long way in solving many problems confronting nomadic herders.
He said courtesy of the project, many nomadic children have now enrolled in school to acquire western and religious education while the women who usually hawked milk in the city now have better economic ventures to do.
He called on all Fulani nomadic groups to embrace the initiative to better their lives and the future of their children.