Despite 20.7m cattle population, Nigeria spends N570bn yearly importing dairy products – Nanono

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Nigeria spends at least $1.5 billion yearly (about N570 billion) importing dairy products into the country.

Ripples Nigeria reported that this was disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono on Tuesday at the National Dairy Policy Stakeholders Engagement in Abuja.

He said that despite the potentials in the dairy industry, 60 percent of dairy products consumed in the country are imported while the remaining 40 percent are produced locally.

“The country’s milk production accounts for only 13 percent of West African production and 0.01 percent of global daily output.”

Nigeria has the 5th largest cattle herd in Africa with a cattle population estimated at 20.7 million and is expected to grow to 53.6 million by 2050 according to data from Statistics.

However,  Nanono explained that the country’s dairy industry is largely subsistence and consists of local milk production, importation, processing, marketing, and consumption presently.

He, therefore, stressed the need to harness the potential in the dairy sector to address some socio-economic and national herd management issues.

“The consumption of aggregated and bulked milk is less than 20 percent of the local potential. Nigeria’s milk production accounts for only 13 percent of West African production and 0.01per cent of global dairy output.

“The gap between supply and demand for dairy products is widening as a result of an increase in population and urbanization.

“The per capita consumption of milk is eight liters per year representing very low consumption levels when compared with the global averages of 44 liters of milk (FAOSTAT, 2019).

Consequently, the long neglect of the livestock sector has put a lot of burden on the import bills of the country.

“About $5billion worth of food is imported yearly into the country out of which milk and dairy products account for $1.2-1.5 billion, according to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) 2019).

Hence, the annual dairy consumption is met by 60 percent imports and 40 percent local production,” he said.

He said there is a need to foster sub-sectoral growth that is inclusive of smallholders and all key players along the value chain.

“This requires the buy-in of national and multinational stakeholders. To facilitate this growth, the Ministry is presently collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment (FMITI), Raw Material Research Development Council (RMRDC), CBN, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the private sector to promote and develop the local dairy industry.

“This will facilitate the process of evolving a National Dairy Policy that will articulate a clear road map and strategies for the attainment of our development aspirations in the dairy industry,” the minister added.

Also speaking the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe said presently, the country is far from meeting national sufficiency in dairy production in particular, and therefore spends a huge amount on the importation of dairy products to bridge the huge gap between supply and demand.

Machine said: ”Successive administrations had made efforts to close the gap through programs such as Dairy Development Programme, National Livestock Breed Improvement Programme among others thus creating opportunity for private sector participation.

“The proposed policy, therefore, is to give defined direction for the country’s dairy industry where all players at whatever scale will be expected to abide by rules of operation, in terms of production, processing, and marketing of dairy products in Nigeria.”

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