Farmers guarantee production of 50 million litres of milk …urge FG to control cheap milk importation
ABUJA- LOCAL producers of milk in the country has guaranteed production of 50 million litres of milk to meet consumers' demand.
This was disclosed by the Chief Executive Officer, Land Z Integrated Farms, Muhammed Abubakar, while he lamented the huge importation of dairy products at the detriment of local producers.
Abubakar said local producers has the capacity to cut down such importation if the enabling environment was provided by the government, which local herdsmen could be integrated in the value chain process going by the available record of could guarantee over 20 million cattle according to the 1991 animal census conducted.
He said: “So if at least, they produce a litre or two a day, you are guaranteed 50 million litres of milk a day and the total milk need of the country is about 10 million litres.
“This is what is available now without doing anything extra; you can imagine what will happen if there is a deliberate effort to upgrade the cattle, encourage local production and discourage importation.
“We are not well priced due to cheap imports and so to guarantee that market at the right price, the government needs to go beyond organising retreats and deal with policy issues that will address the issue of right pricing of milk.”
Meanwhile, he also urged the government to control cheap milk importation as it did in rice importation for local dairy producers would be protected in order to boost the local sector and grow the industry.
“I give an example, rice before now, local producers could not compete with the cheap imports but when policies came up in terms of tariffs review and banning of importation through land ports and introduction of levy, it makes import not as cheap and not as easy.
“This encouraged local production and that is what gave rise to the new rice pyramids we are seeing in Kebbi state; it is not different from dairy if government is keen on making it work.
“What are competing with our local dairy products include the imported powdered milk, yoghurts, UHT milk, fat filled milk, butter, and we import almost all dairy products into this country”, he stated. By Gabriel Ewepu