The programme for the promotion of family farming in West Africa (PAFAO) organized a seminar in Paris, the French capital with the aim of finding solutions to save the West African dairy sectors.
According to the players in the sector, from several countries in West Africa, milk producers in this region face a monumental competition, that of powdered milk imported from all over the world: from Australia, Uruguay, and of course from Europe. 80% of industrialists present in West Africa use exclusively imported powdered milk. Hard to blame, local milk is harder to keep and, above all, it costs on average twice as much.
Imported powdered milk is very low taxed: only 5%, under agreements signed by the economic community of West African States, reports David Baché of RFI. To put an end to this unfair competition, the first claim, old and worn by all the players in the sector, is to increase this tax. Otherwise, any effort to valorization of the local sectors will remain futile.
Moreover, some industry practices could also be modified explains Guillaume Duteurtre, agro-Economist at CIRAD, the Centre for international cooperation in agronomic research for development.
"It is to ensure that these products are not the object of deceit to consumers, since they are not dairy products in the strict sense, in the case of refattened mixtures. So first of all, we have to work on labelling. 70% of the milk imported into West Africa is in the form of a mixture of powdered milk and vegetable fats. »
West African countries are producing milk and struggling to sell their stocks. Supporting the sector is therefore supporting mini-dairies for collection, conservation or even for processing.
Moustapha DIA is President of the Adena, a Senegalese Association of pastoral development, which brings together about 20 community organizations, more than 7000 breeders. Almost ten years ago, he created his own transformation unit, not without difficulties.
"These are equipments that we do not master, which we learn to know. This is the case for pasteurization, storage or packaging equipment. We have vehicles for the milk trade, and refrigerators that work on the solar. We do not control the solar system, and we are experiencing difficulties. »
Another way to value local milk production is to rely on new products. Malick Diallo veterinarian in ICD, a Malian NGO that accompanies more than 400 producers in a dozen mini-dairies abounds in this sense.
"We have been able to make products with high added value, like cheese and liquid butter, so that we can keep and sell them later. It is in my opinion an opportunity because there is a strong demand. But it is a technique to develop and we need to have the funding for. »
Local producers are asking for genuine national policies to valorization their sector. They also rely on international aid and even on the industrialists themselves, which could eventually find their interest in financing and using local production.