563 views | Akpan Akata | March 5, 2021
United States Mission in Nigeria is gearing to facilitate two weeks training for Nigerian dairy sector stakeholders in the US as Ikun Dairy Farm in Ekiti State receives shipment of pregnant Jersey breed dairy cows from the country.
Counselor for Agricultural Affairs at the US Mission to Nigeria, Gerald Smith, disclosed that the shipment was a result of the strong partnership between the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Mission in Nigeria, the Ikun Dairy Farm, and the Nigerian government.
“We believe these efforts will maximise the local dairy sector’s potential and help Nigeria emerge as a major player in the dairy market in the region”, he adds.
The development is coming as Nigeria seals a pact with the Brazilian government for a $1.2 billion loan targeted at boosting the agriculture sector with the deployment of modern technologies.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the two countries with the credit facility set to be provided by the Development Bank of Brazil.
The loan will help drive Federal Government’s initiative to boost agricultural mechanisation and agro-processing centres across the country.
Though the deal is a bilateral agreement between Nigeria and the Brazilian government, it is being guaranteed by the Islamic Development Bank and Islamic Corporation of Insurance for Export Credit.
It will also create market-oriented private sector-driven service centers across the country to address the two twin issues of agricultural modernisation and agro-processing.
Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammdu Buhari on Agriculture, Dr. Andrew Kwasari, who made this public in Abuja, says the credit facility called “the Green Imperative Project “(GIP) will last for 15 years.
“The Green Imperative Project (GIP) is a facility that will inject foreign direct investment of €995 million or $1.2 billion that has been structured financially to allow the government uses its bilateral negotiation and arrive at financing that is below three per cent interest rate and has a long gestation period of 15 years to repay”, he said.
The loan is also expected to inject a $1.2billion foreign direct investment at a 3 percent interest rate over the period.
Meanwhile, the US official in Nigeria explained that the partnership was supported by senior officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He also noted that the introduction of US dairy cows will boost local milk production and consequently, contribute significantly to ensuring sustainable food security in Nigeria.
“Promasidor Nigeria Limited in partnership with Ekiti State Government and with the strong support of 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 start of increasing milk production and enhancing the dairy value chain in Nigeria,” he explained.
The Ikun Dairy Farm is located in the Moba Local Government Area of Ekiti. The farm remained moribund for about 40 years since its existence, until the state government signed a pact with Promasidor Nigeria Limited in 2019, for its resuscitation.
The farm is projected to create thousands of jobs, with a daily expected output of 10,000 litres of milk daily.