The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh has revealed that no Nigerian cow currently has the capacity of producing up to a litre of milk daily.
Ogbeh disclosed this at a national conference organised by the Ministry of Agriculture in Abuja seeking ways to restore stability in the livestock sector as a means to encourage the growth of animals raring in the country, thereby growing the economy of the country through meat and milk export.
The minister, who lamented the low rate of milk produced by the cattle in the country, noted that Holland with far less population compared to Nigeria 350 million cows while Nigeria has only 19 million cows.
He regretted that the country was spending too much money on importation of milk.
“The sad thing is that the country is not spending this money on the best quality of milk, it is the lowest quality, powdered milk that is being imported into the country.”
Ogbeh stated that, “Nigerian cows trek long distances in search of grass and water”, this according to him is the reason that makes the animals to produce such little amount of milk in a day.
“Nigeria has over 415 grazing reserves on paper, nothing visible on ground. Because there is no proper place to accommodate our cows, it is difficulty to restrict their moving,” adding that the moving of the cows from one place to another has caused many of the cows to get infected with diseases that can also be transferred to humans.
He emphasised the need for peaceful coexistence between the farmer and the cattle rarer as key to the stability of livestock sector in Nigeria. “We want the farmer to make money and be free, we also want the herdsmen to make money and be free, we don’t want conflict between them.”
The minister stated that the ministry is talking with state governments concerning land for ranches across the country, noting that 13 states has already donated 5,000 hectares of land for the purpose of ranches.
Also speaking, the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu reassured that, “we are on the right track on resolving agriculture as a sector that will boost the economy of the country”.
He called for the support of all to build ranches for herdsmen as a way of making them stationary, noting that it will drastically reduce the movement of cattle in Nigeria.