Despite increasing investment in the livestock industry, Nigeria has an annual milk deficit of one million metric tons, which necessitates the need for local breeds that have high yielding capacity.
While demand stands at 1.6 million metrics, Nigeria’s 19,000 cattle herds produce only 600,000 tonnes and therefore spend $ 1.5 billion to import milk each year.
The Registrar of the Nigerian Institute of Animal Sciences (NIAS) Prof. Eustace Iyayi at a press conference on the upcoming conference of the Institute and the Association of Animal Sciences of Nigeria (ASAN) in the Akwa-Ibom State said it would take a long time for the country to meet local demand.
He said: “There is a big gap between what is needed in the country and what is produced. We need about 1.6 million metric tonnes of milk, and we can only produce about 600,000 metric tonnes.
He said the Institute advocates the development of a local breed that has a high potential for milk production capacity.
“It’s the only way to go about it, but it takes time; it might take about 10 to 15 years, but we have to start. If we don’t develop our high yielding breeds, our production will be affected, ”he said.
He added that research and innovation are the main drivers of increasing agricultural production, which would lower the country’s food import bill.
Professor Iyayi further said that the results of the upcoming NIAS conference, to be held in Akwa-Ibom State on the topic of “Livestock Resilience in the Post-COVID-19 Era”, will be useful. for policy alignment by government.
He said the conference will help spawn development research, innovation platforms and practitioner engagement in a triple helix model that will boost interaction with the city for an economic renaissance with agriculture. animal as a pivot.