The first shipment of pregnant Jersey-breed dairy cattle from the United States have arrived at the Ikun Dairy Farm in Ekiti State.
This was disclosed in a statement made available to The Guardian by Temitayo Famutimi, Information Specialist, Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, recently.
Ikun Dairy Farm is a joint venture between Promasidor Nigeria Limited and Ekiti State Government.The farm plans to produce 10,000 litres of milk daily and will take delivery of two additional shipments of dairy cattle from the United States over the next couple of weeks.
These shipments will provide a better breed of cattle for the rapidly growing Nigerian dairy industry, helping to diversify the Nigerian economy.
Gerald Smith, Counselor for Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Mission to Nigeria, noted that introduction of U.S. dairy cattle 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 between the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. 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.
“The United States is the leader in producing dairy cows,” Counselor for Agricultural Affairs Smith said. “Promasidor Nigeria Limited, in partnership with Ekiti State Government and with the strong support of the Central Bank of Nigeria, has successfully started an integrated dairy industry in Nigeria with the acquisition of the first batch of pregnant Jersey breed dairy cows from the USA. 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 added. To further support the Nigerian dairy industry, Smith noted that the Foreign Agricultural Service of the U.S. Mission was designing a two-week 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 U.S. dairy cattle.
“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,” Smith added.
Based at the U.S. 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.