An agriculturist, Yahaya Abdullahi, says Nigeria has the potential for production of milk and other dairy products to meet local and foreign demands.
Mr Abdullahi, Kaduna State Coordinator, World Bank assisted project called Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project, APPEALS, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Lagos.
He said harnessing the various value chains in the dairy subsector would not only cut down on huge amount of money spent on milk importation but create job opportunities for the unemployed.
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He commended recent planned policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to restrict allocation of Foreign Exchange, FOREX, for milk importation into the country, saying it was the way to go in helping to revitalise the sub sector.
“The planned restriction on milk importation is a good development that will impact positively on the economy, especially the livestock sector.
“It will trigger increase in dairy production, creating employment and investment opportunity in the local production of dairy apart from the general benefit of conserving our foreign exchange.
“The potential for dairy production in Nigeria is very high. We have the potential to cater and satisfy the demand for dairy products for the entire nation and even export.
“Unfortunately, the sub-sector has been neglected over the years. Statistics shows that as a country, we spend 1.3 dollars annually for importation.
“Statistics show that there are about two million cattle in Kaduna State alone with potential for more.
“Though the average production is low at the moment, about 1.25 litres per cow per day but with the necessary measures r production can increase tremendously.”
Mr Abdullahi expressed optimism that with continued government intervention and private sector as well as international support, Nigeria would meet up with the expected production capacity.