NIGERIA – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has lifted restrictions on the importation of milk and dairy products, as outlined in a recent circular dated March 12, 2024.

Previously, the CBN had imposed strict limitations on foreign exchange allocation for milk imports in February 2020, confining it exclusively to six designated companies within Nigeria.

These companies included Nestle, FrieslandCampina WAPCO Nigeria, Chi Limited, TG Arla Dairy Product Limited, Promasidor Nigeria, Nestle Nigeria, and Integrated Dairies Limited.

However, the new circular signals a significant policy shift, with the CBN now permitting all entities, except selected companies, to access foreign exchange for transactions related to milk and dairy products.

This decision opens up opportunities for a broader range of businesses to engage in importation, subject to compliance with existing regulatory requirements.

The lifting of these restrictions is expected to bring about substantial changes within the dairy industry, fostering increased competition, greater availability of dairy products, and improved market access for businesses across the board.”

According to reports by the CBN, Nigeria’s expenditure on dairy imports amounts to approximately US$1.5 billion annually.

This policy revision holds the potential to mitigate dependency on imports and stimulate domestic production, aligning with broader economic objectives.

On the heels of this regulatory shift, Fan Milk Plc, a prominent Nigerian dairy processor, has announced a strategic collaboration with Obasanjo Farms Nigeria Limited aimed at revolutionizing dairy production within the country.

Under the partnership, Fan Milk Plc and Obasanjo Farms Nigeria Limited intend to spearhead dairy farming expansion initiatives, with plans to establish a dairy farm in Iseyin, Oyo State.

The project aims to breed 300 heifers within the first year, with ambitions to double that figure by 2026. Additionally, the companies plan to import 100 pregnant heifers from Egypt as part of the initial phase.

Fan Milk Plc will play a pivotal role in off-taking the fresh milk produced under the partnership agreement and will provide training and technical capacity building for the personnel involved.

This collaborative effort is anticipated to generate employment opportunities, particularly in rural areas, addressing concerns regarding import dependency raised by experts such as Prof Abdullahi Mustapha, Director-General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency.

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