By Edwin Nwanojuo
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Umar has said that about 60 percent of milk consumed locally are imported, which keeps the money spent annually on milk importation at $1.3 billion.
Dr Umar further said that Nigeria accounts for just 13 per cent of milk produced in West Africa, while it contributes just 0.01 per cent of global milking production.
He, however said that the government was in the process of adopting a National Dairy Policy that would give a clear road map to improve the dairy subsector
According to him, the National Diary Policy would increased employment generation, foreign exchange earnings and means of livelihood.
Umar who disclosed this in Abuja during the Fourth Global Dairy Congress Africa themed: “Accelerating Investment and Cooperation of Dairy in Africa,” noted that challenges of the dairy sector borders on infrastructure development, processing, quality control, industry and sectoral cooperation.
The Permanent Secretary who was represented by the Director, Animal Husbandry Services, Dr Wategire Bright, lamented that despite having a huge cattle population, Nigeria has been unable to satisfy its national demand on milk production, which makes the country spend heavily importing milk
His words: “The industry is largely subsistence and consists of milk production, importation, processing, marketing and consumption. Nigerian cattle contribute a conservative estimate of 50,000 litres to daily supply and consumption of aggregated and bulked milk which is less than 20% of local potential.
“Nigeria’s milk production accounts for only 13% of West African production and 0.01% of global Dairy output. Our dairy requirement is largely met by 60% imports and 40% local production. Nigeria’s annual imports of milk and other dairy products is currently estimated at US$ 1.3 billion.
“Access to inputs and cows of proven genetic quality also constitutes a major constraint due to rudimentary status of the Nigerian diary value chain and may constitute a potential area of veritable investment for discerning stakeholders.
He, however reiterated the need to foster sub-sectoral growth that would accomodate smallholder farmers and all key players along the value chain.
Furthermore, the Director of Animal Husbandry Services, Dr Wategire Bright, while noting that the dairy industry is a dynamic industry with an ever increasing demand for milk and milk products, said it is dominated by pastoralists who are gradually moving away from subsistence level of production to embracing entrepreneurial ideas with emphasis on economic consideration.
Dr Bright who was represented by Deputy Director in the Department, Mrs Winnie Lai-Solarin, maintained Nigerian livestock account for one third of our agricultural Gross Development Product (GDP), providing food, employment, farm energy, manure and transport.
“Due to the enormous opportunities for growth, the Government of Nigeria is operating an umbrella Agricultural Promotion Policy (Green Alternative) that focus on agribusiness and a medium term economic revitalization strategy called Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to further enhance ease of doing business.
“We are also at the implementation stage of our livestock transformation plan that allow space for local and international investors in the Nigerian Dairy industry.
“We have enviable agricultural resources including an estimated 20 million cattle; about 100 million hectares of arable land; tremendous water resources; a sizable workforce; and the agro-climatic diversity to grow grains, pastures and raise livestock,” he added.