Nigeria spends $1.5bn on milk importation annually, says agric ministry

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The federal ministry of agriculture and rural development (FMARD) has estimated that Nigeria spends $1.5 billion annually to import milk and other dairy products.

Abdulkadir Mu’azu, FMARD permanent secretary, provided the figure while speaking at the inception workshop of Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations Technical Cooperation Project(TCP).

The workshop focused on the implementation of the national livestock transformation plan in Niger and Kaduna states.

Mu’azu, who was represented by Winnie Lai-Solarin, acting director of animal husbandry services in the ministry, said the huge bill is due to the long neglect of the livestock sector which has put a lot of burden on the import bill of the country.

He said that about $5 billion worth of food is imported annually into the country, out of which milk and dairy products accounts for between $1.2- $1.5 billion.

Muazu said the challenges of the livestock sector include poor breed quality, farmer conflicts, and banditry.

Fred Kafeero, country representative of FAO said the workshop kickstarts the implementation of the TCP, adding that FAO will provide technical support for the project.

“FAO will continue to avail its assistance and technical expertise to the government of Nigeria to ensure food and nutrition security,” NAN quoted Kafeero to have said.

Halima Lawal, the Kaduna commissioner for agriculture, said Nigeria is confronted with multiple challenges of unprecedented population growth which has slowed the economy and led to insecurity.

She added that the livestock sector presents an opportunity to facilitate economic growth and diversification.

In July 2019, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced that it would no longer provide forex for milk importation and encouraged stakeholders in the agricultural sector to participate in boosting local milk production.

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