Nigeria, Africa’s populous country, is planning to grow its local dairy industry rather than depend on imports from other African and overseas nation.
The country, which is the largest oil producer in Africa, has been working on diversifying its source of revenue from crude, whose price has more than halved over the last one year. Agriculture is one of the sector the Nigerian government is looking to prop-up after year of underinvestment.
Like many other African countries, the West African nation does not produce enough dairy products to meet demand from its 170 million people.
Demand for milk has surged on the continent over the recent years as more people leaving farming in rural areas and head to urban areas in search for better jobs and income levels rise in line with improving economic activity.
Nigeria has the “Dutch disease” and this was laid bare by the recent fall in oil prices globally, a commodity that contributes over 70 percent of the country’s annual budget, leaving other sector of the economy struggling, Aljazeera reported.
The dairy industry in the West African country, which contributed about $1.7 billion in revenue to the Nigerian economy in 2013, has suffered the wrath of years of lack of investment in developing infrastructure to support farmers.
“We have the capacity to feed not only Nigeria but the entire West Africa. What is lacking is harnessing the milk at the right quality and quantity and delivered it to the processing plant at the right time,” Mohammed Abubakar, CEO L&Z diary firm, told Reuters.
Abukara’s diary company also produces yogurt but has to compete for shelve space in local supermarkets with imported products from other countries including Italy, China, Kenya, European and Asian countries.
“We don’t have any reason to allow importation of yogurt in this country. It is sad and criminal for us to allow this to allow this to happen,” he said.
Despite having more than 10 percent of the world’s cattle population, Africa contributes less than 3 percent to global milk production but spends more than $500 million every year on milk imports from Europe and North America, while thousands of its cattle farmers remain poor.
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