Benneth Oghifo and Segun James
As part of efforts to encourage the Nigerian dairy industry, the United States Government has approved the first shipment of pregnant Jersey breed dairy cows from the US.
The cows have arrived at the Ikun Dairy Farm belonging to Promasidor Nigeria Limited and the Ekiti State Government.
The Ikun Dairy Farm, a joint venture of Promasidor and the state government, plans to produce 10,000 litres of milk daily, and will take delivery of two additional shipments of dairy cows from the United States over the next couple of weeks.
These shipments will provide a better breed of cows for the rapidly growing Nigerian dairy industry, which will aid the diversification of the Nigerian economy.
The Counselor for Agricultural Affairs at the US Mission to Nigeria, Gerald Smith, noted that the introduction of US dairy cows would boost local milk production and contribute significantly to ensuring sustainable food security in Nigeria.
Smith explained that the successful cattle shipment was as a result of the strong partnership among the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Mission in Nigeria, the Ikun Dairy Farm, and senior officials of the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, with support from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
According to Smith, “The United States is the leader in producing dairy cows. Promasidor Nigeria Limited in partnership with the Ekiti State Government, and with the strong support of the CBN has successfully started an integrated dairy industry in Nigeria with the acquisition of the first batch of pregnant Jersey breed dairy cows from the US. A sustainable dairy industry requires modern genetic cows. This collaboration marks the beginning of increase in milk production and the enhancement of the dairy value chain in Nigeria.”
To further support the Nigerian dairy industry, Smith noted that the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Mission is designing a two-week long training programme in the United States for diverse Nigerian dairy stakeholders. The training programme holding later this year will introduce participants to the unique characteristics and genetic potential of US dairy cows. “We believe these efforts will maximise the local dairy sector potential and help Nigeria emerge as a major player in the dairy market in the region,” he added.
Based at the US Consulate General in Lagos, the Foreign Agricultural Service is the overseas arm of the United States Department of Agriculture. It offers a variety of services to American and Nigerian agribusiness companies, government and non-government entities involved in agricultural trade and development. Through a variety of programmes, the service helps developing countries strengthen sustainable agricultural practices by providing capacity building opportunities.