Dear Kelechi: On milk importation ban, I hope they listen

Dear News Maker

Dear Kelechi,

You should be among the list of ministerial nominees dropped recently. You are one of those few Nigerians who know what to do.

Your recent post ‘Before You Ban Milk Importation’ tackles the milk issue and the lame proposition to close our national gates against foreign milk makers.

I just want to reproduce your thoughts and post:

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I don’t take milk. And it is not on my family’s menu. Few years ago, my wife yanked animal based milk off our menu. She replaced it with plant based milk. Fortunately for me, my kids are not ajebo so they don’t miss milk either, thus I won’t be missing milk with this ban. But that’s beside the point.

Whenever our policy makers push out their of these knee jerk policies, I wonder the time they dedicate to incubate on such policies before pushing such to the public.

Did the Central Bank of Nigeria sit through the short and medium term impact of this milk ban policy before making it known?

It sounds altruistic that such policy is aimed at growing our local dairy industry, so arguing against such standing excuse will make one appear unpatriotic. But there’s more than that which I won’t go into for now.

However, the question we are not asking is whether we have what it takes to produce at least 20% of the daily milk needs of the country locally?

Should we work hard at putting in place whatever is necessary to be self sufficient in milk production, before banning importation, or we first ban importation before putting necessary structures in place?

Can our cows produce enough milk to cushion the gap that will emerge from the ban?

Yes, Nigeria is a potential market for 1.3 million tons of milk valued at about N450 billion annually. But of the about 14 million heads of cattle in Nigeria, only about 900,000 are milking cows and average yield from this traditional system is 0.7 – 1.5 litres of fluid milk per day.

We should note that cow population does not translate into volume of milk production. Presently, cows in Nigeria produce just about 1.5 to 2 litres of milk per day compared to cows in Kenya which produce up to 30 litres per day. Cows in Israel produce between 45 and 60 litres of milk per day. Israel’s goats produce over 11 million litres of milk every year.

Recently, Kenya introduced a new high yielding goat breed (Galla Buck) that can produce up to eight litres of milk a day, four times more than what other goats yield and is good for meat production.

What has the Nigerian government done in the last five years in that direction? To what extent can we say, what is on ground is enough to meet the milk needs of Nigerians?

Moreso, the major company that is playing a major role in sourcing about 10% of its milk from local market which is expected to help boost local production is also the behemoth that accounts for over 65% of milk importation into the country.

As I said earlier, I won’t miss milk ,but I can easily sniff out a failed policy even before implementation.

If the government did not ban fuel importation to save local refineries from the effects of dumping of refined products, what makes them think that banning importation of milk will help a fledging local industry that is at best non existent?

Even though milk is not on the menu at my home, I know enough to understand the interconnectedness of economic activities within a given economy.

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I hope they listen. How is the fam? Trust all is well.

Your Milk spotter,
Ediale

#ForTheCulture

PS: My one-time editor, it was nice working with you. I look forward to working with you in the near future.

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