World milk production has increased by more than 50 percent in the last three decades, from 500 million tonnes in 1983 to 769 million tonnes in 2013, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
The U.S. is the largest milk producer in the world, accounting for 14.4 percent of world production — 91 million tonnes in 2013.
India is No. 2 with 9.5 percent of world milk production amounting to 61 million tonnes in 2013. The U.K. is the 10th largest producer, with 2.2 percent of world cow’s milk production and 14 million tonnes in 2013.
Of the 10 largest milk producing countries, Turkey and Brazil grew the most at 4.2 percent and 6 percent from 2012 to 2013.
Africa has more than 10 percent of the world’s cattle, but contributes less than 3 percent to global milk production. African countries spend more than $500 million a year importing milk from Europe and North America.
On a continent cattle are abundant, Africa does not produce enough milk to meet its own needs.
Milk consumption in Africa is the lowest in the world.
The average African consumes about 36 kilograms of milk a year, according to the World Health Organisation — well below the recommended annual consumption of 200 kilograms per person.
As far back as 2011, Ghana spent more than $80 million importing milk and milk products annually, according to U.N. Trade Statistics.
Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah, established a dairy farm in Amrahia as part of his vision to make Ghana an industrialized state in 1967.
The plan was for the farm to supply crossbred bulls to prospective dairy farmers for breeding in an effort to upgrade the milk production of local breeds, and to improve milk yield of Ghanaian cattle through cross breeding and selection.
Like many other state institutions, however, the Amrahia farm could not live up to its intended purpose after the ousting of Nkrumah.
The local dairy industry has been plagued with challenges that are hampering its growth including lack of modern technology. Most dairy farmers continue to use traditional means to extract the milk from the cattle.
Organization is another challenge. A poorly-organized industry can’t assure smallholder farmers a ready market. Most dairy farmers do not even know where to market their products after production.
Almost all the smallholder dairy farmers lack the knowledge to meet standards that will enhance the quality of their products.
The Department of Food and Nutrition Science at the University of Ghana has established two laboratories for sensory evaluation and microbiological research to enhance teaching, learning and research, and to help farmers improve the quality of their products.
Dairy producers can use facility to test the their products and eventually help in exports of dairy products.