The Faculty of Agriculture has held its first World Milk Day celebration at KNUST. The aim of the event was to draw attention to the importance of milk and dairy products.
Rev. Prof. Sarkodie AddoIn his opening remarks, Rev. Prof. Sarkodie Addo, Dean of the Faculty of Agric, stated that milk is essential for both adults and children but its consumption in Ghana and Africa is very low and therefore there is the need to make conscious efforts to consume more milk. He hoped that by the year 2025 Ghana would be among the top twenty (20) countries registered for high intake of milk.
Professor P. K. KarikariProfessor P. K. Karikari, Department of Animal Science, noted that the celebration was to commend the dairy farmer for making it possible for us to get milk and for their great contribution to community and national development. He explained that cow milk is recognized internationally but the milk of goat, sheep and buffalo can be important locally and that in recent times, milk has been defined to include soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, cashew nut milk, oat milk and even rice milk.
He then outlined some benefits of milk which include protein, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, Vitamin A, riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and niacin. These nutrients, according to him, help in providing blood, energy, strong teeth and bones.
Prof. Karikari explained that milk being our first food as humans is considered basic food for all. He said, “The market for milk can, therefore, be massive on account of it being vital food for many. The market is expanded greatly when milk is transformed into other products through processing which increases the variety of products available to the consumer, and makes milk available at distant places as it increases the shelf life of milk and engenders trade in the economy.”
He went on to observe that in advanced economies, many dairy scientists/technologists are employed in existing enterprises. They therefore work mainly to make old processes work better and more profitably. In the Ghanaian situation, a dairy scientist is not likely to get a lucrative job in an existing business concern since the dairy industry is at an infantile stage, small in the volume of business and very informal. This, however, presents massive opportunities for the dairy scientist/technologist to create businesses and wealth for himself and for others along the milk value chain in Ghana.
Prof. Karikari encouraged the students present to create businesses for themselves in the dairy industry. He drew their attention to technical competence, business planning, seeking cooperation, appropriate registering of business with the Register General’s Department (RGD) and financing as some of the major factors they should consider.
He concluded that they should cultivate determination, confidence, discipline, open-mindedness, the ability to network and risk-taking to improve their chances of success in the dairy business.