Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono has disclosed that food importation gulps about N1.89tn annually in Nigeria.
Nanono disclosed this while speaking at the national dairy policy stakeholders’ engagement in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The Minister also said Nigeria spends about N568.5bn on the importation of milk and dairy products annually.
He said, “About $5bn (N1.89tn at the official exchange rate of N379/$) worth of food is imported yearly into the country out of which milk and dairy products account for $1.2bn to $1.5bn.
“Hence, the annual dairy consumption is met by 60 per cent imports and 40 per cent local production.”
Currently, the Nigerian dairy industry was largely subsistence and consisted of local milk production, importation, processing, marketing and consumption, according to the Minister.
He emphasised that the consumption of aggregated and bulked milk was less than 20 percent of the local potential.
Nanono said Nigeria’s milk production accounted for only 13 percent of West African production and 0.01 percent of global dairy output.
He said, “The gap between supply and demand for dairy products is widening as a result of an increase in population and urbanisation.
“The per capita consumption of milk is eight litres per year representing very low consumption levels when compared with the global averages of 44 litres of milk.”
Special Adviser to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on Development Finance, Anthony Ifechukwu, said the bank is working to see the emergence of a private sector-driven dairy sector in Nigeria.
“A dairy sector where we can save as much as $1.8bn that we spend in importing dairy and then the turn such into other investments that can improve our economy,” he stated.
Also, Deputy Director, Agro-allied and Gender Head at the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Achilam Fidel, noted that reports have revealed tha Nigeria had a cattle stock of over 20 million cows but only 2.3 million were utilised for large scale dairy production, producing an average of 0.8 litre/cow/day.