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Dairy: Deficit surges import cost to N376.4bn

...casts doubt on FG’s ban target

 

Moves by the Federal Government to ban dairy products by 2022 may not be realistic following a deficit of 46.15 per cent in the country.

 

Due to shortage of the products, findings revealed that some dairy products valued at N376.4billion ($800.7million) were imported into the country in the last two years from European countries and India when the price was $1,334.5 per metric tonne.

 

In 2020, data obtained from International Trade Statistics (ITS) portal on Nigerian imports indicated that the country imported $420.5million worth of dairy products, while in 2019 $380.2million of the products were imported. According to the Federal Min

istry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the country needs 1.8 billion litres of milk annually. As part of efforts to increase local production of milk, its derivatives and dairy products, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) last year, added milk and dairy products to the list of items not eligible for forex.

 

However, findings revealed that Nigeria only has capacity to produce 700,000 tonnes or 53.85 per cent of the domestic demand of 1.3 million metric tonnes, leading to a deficit of 600,000 tonnes. Meanwhile, demand for Skim Milk Powder (SMP) from The Netherlands and Denmark has increased by 44 per cent due to the deficit in local milk production.

 

According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) exporters’ guides on Nigeria imports, the country is a massive market for European milk, noting that Nigeria’s dairy market had a potential of $3billion in excess. Also, USDA explained that two of the European Union’s most important markets for milk powders, Netherlands and Denmark, had significantly  increased their exports to Nigeria because of high demand by the consumers.

 

It added: “Condensed milk and dried milk powder are mostly used and account for approximately 50per cent of each product.” In order to bridge the gap, the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, had said that his company would invest $800 million in dairy production in order to produce 500,000 tonnes (500million litres) of milk per year. Also, the Ekiti State Government has concluded plans to produce 3.65 litres of milk annually with the support of CBN and United State.

 

Already, the first batch of shipment of pregnant Jersey breed dairy cows from the United States has been imported into the state’s Ikun Dairy Farm. The Ikun Dairy Farm is a joint venture between Promasidor Nigeria Limited and Ekiti State Government and will produce 10,000 liters of milk daily. Also, it was gathered that the state would take delivery of two additional shipments of dairy cows from the United States over the next couple of weeks.

 

According to Counselor for Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Mission to Nigeria, Gerald Smith, the introduction of U.S. dairy cows will boost local milk production and contribute significantly to ensuring sustainable food security in Nigeria. Smith explained: “Promasidor Nigeria Limited in partnership with Ekiti State Government and with the strong support of the Central Bank of Nigeria have successfully started an integrated dairy industry in Nigeria with the acquisition of the first batch of pregnant Jersey breed dairy cows from the USA.

 

A sustainable dairy industry requires modern genetic cows. “This collaboration marks the start of increasing milk production and enhancing the dairy value chain in Nigeria.”

 

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