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Improvement of diary production in Nigeria

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By Mercy Kelani

Nigerian cattle produce less than 2 litres of milk per cow, per day.

On September 15, 2023, the federal government announced its readiness to develop diary production in the nation in order to foster economic development. Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, The Director General and Chief Executive Officer (DG/CEO) of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), disclosed this at the launching of a two-day Strategic Interest Research Group Meeting on Livestock Genetic Improvement (SIRGM 4.0). The meeting was held in Oyo State at the Conference Center of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) with the theme, “Accelerating Genetic Improvement for Advances in Livestock Agriculture”.

Mustapha stated that the country had enough number of cattle, and thereby discouraged the importation of diary products. He said there is availability of scientists to manufacture more products from cattle as the country has adequate capability to cater for them. He added that less than 2 litres of milk are produced by Nigerian cattle per cow on a daily basis, which is not commendable enough. He said commitment and hard work are required to meet the goal of the government. The body aims at producing 10-15 litres of milk per cow, each day.

Insemination of Nigerian cattle has commenced.

DG discussed that the meeting was to gather all stakeholders for brainstorm and enlightenment on the next line of action. NABDA has begun to take steps towards the transformation of the Nigerian cattle, using the F1 (first generation). This method is to inseminate and sequence the cattle breed to figure out similar traits of their parents. The insemination of Nigerian cattle has commenced with the collection of the semen of Girolando from Brazil and Bunaji. Artificially inseminated with the semen, Nigerian cattle will transform into more productive ones.

Across the world, it was discovered that many countries ensured transformation of their cattle, with increased production in the quantity and quality of milk required. This showed that low-quality were no longer produced. He disclosed that there is a proposed plan to take a leading position in Africa, firstly in Nigeria, by the agency. This is also to guarantee that productivity becomes commendable. According to Mustapha, he said that the development of production will boost immunity.

Less than 10 percent of needed milk quantity is produced.

The nutritional value of children in the country will increase through the improvement of diary production in Nigeria. Mustapha stated that the country was getting less than 10 percent of needed milk quantity. Speaking on economic value, the DG stated that Nigeria is a big market which is highly recognized in many countries across West Africa and Central Africa. He mentioned that there would be plenty of income generated from lots of markets for the product.

Also speaking, the Research Director of Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics, NABDA, Prof. Oyekanmi Nash, said that Nigerians should anticipate the birthing of new cows to serve as replacement for old cows. He added that the new ones will produce not less than 5-10 litres of milk and will improve without losing the adaptation its Nigerian species. The agency has 21 registered farms in the country, with over 600 inseminated cows. Carving has also began as a result of the crossbreed.

Collaboration among partners in the agricultural sector.

Additionally, the Head of Dairy Development Operations, Friesland Campina WAMCO, John Adekunle, stated that the company was working in collaboration with partners like the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), dairy farmers, young graduates, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, pastoralists, and research institutes. This collaboration between the company and different partners across the field of agriculture will foster the improvement of diary production through establishment of milk collection centres and extension activities in different states across Nigeria.

Related Link

Friesland campina: Website

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