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According to Oxford Dictionaries, Milk is an “opaque white liquid rich in fat and protein, secreted by female mammals for the nourishment of their young”. Apart from milk from lactating women, other common sources of milk that we are most familiar with include milk from lactating mammals such as cows, sows, and ewes. (Read our article on ewe milk here). In this regard, the milk is produced in the mammary glands primarily as food for their new-born and young ones. It is considered the best food for new born and young mammals especially in their first few months of life.

Milk has also been declared one of the most nourishing meals in adult human diets necessary for body growth and development. This is because it contains lots of beneficial vitamins and proteins which are integral parts of normal maintenance of body functions. The source of such milk in adult humans is mainly from commercialized production in lactating cows and this is an entire viable industry in the world of food and agriculture.

Milk products are simply known to be food and products derived from milk. Codex Alimentarius defines a milk product as a “product obtained by any processing of milk, which may contain food additives, and other ingredients functionally necessary for the processing”. The range of milk products varies significantly from region to region and among countries in the same region, depending on dietary habits, the milk processing technologies available, market demand, and social and cultural circumstances. In Nigeria, most commercially sold milk-products such as fura and wara originates from the northern part of Nigeria, which is realistic since that is where most cattle herders, farms and managers are located.

According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), more than 6 billion people worldwide consume milk and milk products and most of these people reside in developing countries. FAO further states that since the early 1960s, per capita milk consumption in developing countries has grown with a twofold increase. However, at this rate, this growth has been significantly slower than other livestock products. Comparatively, egg consumption has increased fivefold and meat consumption has increased threefold.

Milk may be taken in its fresh state or may be processed into liquid and dry forms through commercial production and sales. Generally, liquid milk is the most consumed dairy product throughout the developing world by volume. According to FAO, demand for milk and milk products in developing countries is growing with rising incomes, population growth, urbanization, and changes in diets. This growing demand for milk and milk products offers a good opportunity for producers (and other actors in the dairy chain) in high-potential, peri-urban areas to enhance their livelihoods through increased production. This would be best interests in Nigeria, where most of the milk we consume is imported and this has been pasteurized and processed to either dry or liquid forms. Looking at the vast amount of cattle management and trade especially in northern Nigeria, it is expected that Nigeria should have an equally flourishing milk industry. However, due to a cumulative lack of resources, capacity, government support and knowledge of industry, this industry is virtually non-existent in Nigeria.


12 Fun facts about Milk

Below, we have compiled a list of fun facts about milk that we are sure you would find interesting and educative. Read on…

  • The month of June is considered National Diary Month and since 2001, every 1st of June is celebrated as World Milk Day.
  • Adding a pinch of salt to your quart or gallon of fresh milk makes it stay fresh longer
  • A cow produces an average of 6.3 gallons of milk daily, this is more than 2,300 gallons each year and 350,000 glasses of milk in a lifetime!
  • To get the amount of calcium in an 8-ounce glass of milk, you’d have to eat one-fourth cup of broccoli, seven oranges or six slices of wheat bread.
  • U.S. dairy farms produce roughly 21 billion gallons of milk annually while the UK’s annual milk production is about 3.01 billion gallons (13.7 billion litres)
  • The greatest amount of milk produced in one year was 59,298 pounds by a Holstein cow named Robthom Sue Paddy.
  • On a dairy farm, a typical farmer’s day begins and ends with milking the cows.
  • In developed countries, a cow is more valuable for its milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt than for its beef. In Nigeria, a cow is more valuable for its beef and its ability to reproduce than others
  • Cows produce 90 per cent of the world’s milk needs.
  • Louis Pasteur developed pasteurization for beer more than 20 years before he did it for milk.
  • The world’s first commercial dromedary dairy opened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1986, selling camel milk at £1.20 a liter
  • Cow’s milk was first drunk by humans 10,000 years ago in what is now Afghanistan and Iran.

Sources –
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Farm Flavor



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