The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) on Tuesday says about 1.5 billion dollars’ worth of dairy products is imported yearly into the country.
The ministry says that the huge bill is because of the long neglect of the livestock sector that has put a lot of burden on the import bills of the country.
Dr Abdulkadir Mu’azu, Permanent Secretary, FMARD made this known at the Inception workshop of Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations Technical Cooperation Project TCP/NIR/3701.
The project is also referred to as ‘’Piloting the Implementation of the National Livestock Transformation plan in Niger and Kaduna States’’.
The permanent secretary was represented by Mrs Winnie Lai-Solarin, the Acting Director of Animal Husbandry Services FMARD.
Mu’azu says that about 5 billion US Dollars’ worth of food is imported yearly into the country out of which milk and dairy products account for 1.2 billion dollars to 1.5 billion dollars.
He says the challenges of growth in the livestock value chains are multifarious including low breed quality, herder and crop farmer conflicts, and banditry among other security challenges.
The country representative of FAO, Mr Fred Kafeero says the workshop kick starts the implementation of the Technical Cooperation Project, 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.
The commissioner for Agriculture, Kaduna State, Mrs Halima Lawal says Nigeria is confronted with multiple challenges of unprecedented population growth slowing the economy and causing insecurity.
Lawal says the livestock sector offers a veritable means to address key challenges through food security and transforming livelihood, job creation, enhance economic growth and diversification.
She commends the Federal Government, FMARD and FAO for providing support in the implementation of the plan to boost and modernize the livestock sub -sector.