NIGERIA – As global milk production faces a potential decline in key producing regions, Nigeria is intensifying efforts to boost local production, aiming to meet 60% of domestic demand and reduce reliance on imports.

Dr. Olufemi Oladunni, CEO of the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), highlighted the urgent need to enhance local productivity, attributing low output to challenges such as nomadic cattle movement.

Advocating for an integrated approach, Dr. Oladunni emphasized the importance of addressing various aspects of dairy cattle production, from breeding to milk processing.

He stressed that such strategies would not only reduce import dependency but also create job opportunities and entrepreneurial avenues within local communities.

“Collaboration between the private sector and government is essential to improve feed quality and establish a supportive ecosystem for dairy farming.”

However, Prof. Abiodun Adeloye from the University of Ilorin noted that Nigeria primarily imports milk, unlike countries Rabobank targets for increased exports.

Nonetheless, he noted that even small improvements in local production could impact global markets and potentially elevate import costs for Nigeria.

In addition, the industry stakeholders echoed concerns about substantial milk imports and stressed the necessity of enhancing dairy cow productivity to meet demand.

They called for incentives such as tax breaks and feed subsidies to bolster production conditions and encourage investment in the processing industry.

Nigeria’s dairy industry plays a pivotal role in the country’s agricultural sector, owing to the nutritional value derived from milk.

With a population surpassing 227.9 million as of April 2024 and projected to reach approximately 401.31 million by 2050, the demand for milk and milk products is expected to rise significantly, according to data from the United Nations.

However, the current production level, mainly from low-input pastoral systems, falls short, covering only 40% of the existing demand.

In response to the strain on foreign reserves caused by milk imports, the Nigerian government has implemented various policies in recent years.

These range from outright bans on milk imports to adjustments limiting forex access through the Central Bank, reflecting efforts to reduce dependency on imported dairy products.

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