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Nigeria spends $1.5b annually importing dairy products, says Shettima

Kashim Shettima, Nigeria’s vice president, revealed Tuesday that Nigeria spends $1.5 billion annually, importing milk and other dairy products, due to the nation’s production deficit.

Shettima said this while unveiling the National Dairy Policy, 2023-2028 to address the deficit.

The VP who was represented by Kingsley Uzoma, the senior special assistant to the president on agribusiness and productivity enhancement, made the revelation at the World Milk Day Mega Celebration 2024, an official unveiling of the National Dairy Policy, which was held in Abuja with the theme ‘Harnessing the Nutrition and Investment Opportunities in the Dairy Value Chain”.

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“Nigeria spends $ 1.5 billion annually importing dairy products due to a production deficit,” Shettima said at the event organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture And Food Security in collaboration with other key stakeholders in the dairy sector. The vice president further informed that Nigerians consumes an average of 1.6 billion liters of milk and its products , but domestic production is insufficient to meet this demand.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration is determined to achieve national production security, with the longer-term goal of eventually exporting dairy products to other African countries under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA),” he said.

“The National Dairy Policy is designed to serve as a roadmap for energising the dairy industry over the coming years. Its implementation will ensure improved dairy farming practices, increased investment in dairy processing and preservation, evidence-based policy implementation, enhanced collaboration, ease of business for the dairy industry, fostering public-private partnerships, embracing technology and innovation, empowering women-friendly and youth-centric business models, promoting good animal health practices, and monitoring and evaluating progress.

“World Milk Day, established in 2001 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, was created to recognize the importance of milk as a global food and to recognize the contribution of the dairy sector to various facets of our lives. Since its inception, the benefits of milk and dairy products have been actively promoted worldwide, highlighting how
dairy supports the livelihoods of one billion people. Each year, we gather to celebrate the vital role dairy plays in delivering quality nutrition to nourish the

Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the minister of state for agriculture and food security recalled that what existed as guiding frameworks for the Nigerian Dairy Industry before the maiden Livestock and Dairy Retreat in June 2016 was the Dairy Transformation Plan of the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (FMAFS) and the National Industrial Policy of the Federal Ministry of Industries, Trade and Investments (FMITI).

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The minister said the Nigerian dairy policy provides guidelines for the development of the dairy industry in Nigeria, the improvement of livelihoods of dairy farmers and actors along the dairy value chain, the increase in national income from the dairy sector, and a reduction in the country’s dependence on imported dairy products.

“Specifically, the policy would facilitate creation of an enabling and supportive environment, job creation & import reduction, milk production target, milk collection centres, cooperative business structures and encouraging dairy farmers to form cooperative business structures,” Abdullahi said.

“The policy would facilitate data collection, promote collective action, and resource pooling, and strengthen bargaining power, inclusive growth, and poverty reduction, massive investments, import reduction, capacity building and support for livestock farmers as well as provide financial empowerment.”

In her presentation, Winnie Lai-Solarin, the director, of animal husbandry at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security advocated that commercial banks support dairy farmers with loans at single interest digits or 10 percent interest rates at most.