The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has estimated that Nigeria spends $5 billion to import foods annually out of which $1.5 billion goes to importation of milk and other dairy products.
Permanent Secretary, FMARD, Abdulkadir Mu’azu, stated this at a workshop of Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations Technical Cooperation Project (TCP), with focus 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, 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.
According to him, about $5 billion worth of food is imported annually into the country, out of which milk and dairy products accounts for between $1.2 billion to $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 kick-starts 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,” Kafeero said.
Recall that in July 2019, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced that it would no longer provide foreign exchange for milk importation and encouraged stakeholders in the agricultural sector to participate in boosting local milk production.