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U.S. supports Nigeria dairy industry, to train stakeholders

Paul Ogbuokiri

Indication at the weekend was that the first shipment of pregnant Jersey breed dairy cows from the United States has arrived at the Ikun Dairy Farm in Ekiti State.   
This came as Ikun Dairy Farm – a joint venture between Promasidor Nigeria Limited and Ekiti State Government – plans to produce 10,000 liters of milk daily and will take delivery of two additional shipments of dairy cows from the United States over the next couple of weeks.   
These shipments according to a statement by Temitayo Famutimi of the Public Affairs Section, US Consulate General, Lagos, will provide a better breed of cow for the rapidly growing Nigerian dairy industry, helping to diversify the Nigerian economy.   
The statement quoted Gerald Smith, Counselor for Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Mission to Nigeria as saying that the introduction of U.S. dairy cows will 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 have 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 is designing a two-week long 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 cows.  “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.   

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