How Local Breeds can Save $1.5bn On Annual Importation Of Dairy Products
The Nigeria Institute of Animal Science, (NIAS), has on Tuesday, revealed that boosting local breeds in the country’s livestock industry will save $1.5 billion annual importation of dairy products.
The Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of NIAS, Prof Eustace Iyayi, stated this during a media conference held at the Institute’s headquarters in Abuja, while speaking on the essence of the 10th Joint Annual Meeting, with the theme, ‘Livestock Resilience in the Post-COVID-19 Era’, scheduled to hold from 5-9 September 2021in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
According to Iyayi there is slow growth of the Nigerian animal husbandry industry, traceable to insecurity, climate change, rising population, and rising cost of living expenses.
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He also explained that the essence of the conference is to bring in technology and innovation to promote production, processing and animal agricultural trade through effective competitiveness, market access and penetration as basis for resurgence of the nation’s economy.
Meanwhile, he expressed optimism that outcome of the discussions at the meeting will be useful for policy alignment by government and also help engender developmental research, innovation platforms and practitioners engagement in a triple helical model that will stimulate town-gown interaction economic renaissance with animal agriculture as pivot.
He also said animal scientists believe that in the Post-COVID-19 era, resilience is required to “absorb the shock and reposition for greater heights, solve youth restiveness and perennial farmer-herder conflict.
According to him about 170 newly registered animal scientists will be induced into the institute.
He said: “The current high annual food import bill of over $5 billion and $1.5 billion on dairy product and other derivatives in the face of obvious comparative advantage is an unsustainable trend particularly in the wake of dwindling foreign exchange.
“The value of our dairy import-milk, there is a big shortfall between what is needed in the country and what is produced. In fact, we need about 1.6 million metric tonnes of milk, and we can only produce about 600, 000 metric tonnes.
“So the difference has been coming by importation which is a huge expend bill. Well, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has tried to intervene, and of course we know that this is going to take a long time to develop because what is happening now is in most cases we just using artificial insemination to upgrade milk production capacity of our local produce but that is in the short run.
“But on the long run what we have been advocating as an institution is we need to develop our local breeds that are highly yielding potential. So is the only way to go, and this takes time, which could be 10-15 years down the line but we need to start.
“If we do not develop our breeds that are highly yielding all these intervention measures are just what they are, and the interventions may not be long lasting.
“So the way out is to have a long breeds planning. Innovation and development comes from research.”
Speaking on NIAS’ effort on rescuing the livestock industry heavily hit by COVID-19, he disclosed that at the recent Feed Nigeria Summit, $50 million was attracted directly to farmers in the livestock industry.
“We were together with other stakeholders recently in Abuja including the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development at the Feed Nigeria Summit specifically to look at issues like this, and it was a huge success.
“I will like to let us know, in that meeting, one of the things featured was is the ideal platform which actually put in place and that platform attracted up to about $50 million directly to those who are in the livestock industry.
“We are also involved in quality fodder for farmers are a way of ameliorating some of the conflicts we are seeing because we believe that developing our pasture is very important.
While speaking on the Federal Government’s move to review grazing routes in the country he (Iyayi) said, “On the grazing routes the directive already issued by President Muhammadu Buhari, we are waiting on how that directive will be implemented, of course we know that this routes have been there, and whatever can be done should help overcome the conflict that we are seeing.
“It should be put on board and all other options should be comprehensively considered so that the problem will be solved. There are other things also people are agitating for ranching and it is working in some areas because some ranches have been set up, also the Federal Government is working on the National Livestock Transformation Programme, NLTP, which has also picked up in some states.”
Meanwhile, he pointed that, “It is a full option situation, we just have to keep our hands open and bring everything on the table and work with the one that is giving us the best solution.”