Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has reacted to the Federal Government’s move to ban the importation of milk.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had earlier in the week said it will place a ban on the importation of milk and other dairy products into the country.
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele disclosed this on Tuesday at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.
He said that FG was concluding plans to effect the policy of restricting allocation of foreign exchange (FOREX) for milk importation into Nigeria.
The CBN boss, however, noted that for implementation of such a policy requires a robust strategy that addresses underlying issues.
The herdsmen, in a statement on Friday signed by Baba Othman Ngelzarma, its National Secretary, note that the “National Livestock Transformation Plan(NLTP) is an integrated plan that holistically solves the historic challenges that has deprived the pastoralists from producing high quantity and quality beef and dairy products demanded by the Nigerian market, ensuring that their goods do not end up being sold at sub-standard prices.
“NLTP modernizes the industry through handholding the pastoralists and allowing ranches to develop organically with pastoralists as core participants in the Livestock production chain which will ultimately impact wealth creation and knowledge transfer mechanisms. This we strongly believe is a safer, more stable sustainable pathway than one which favour only one part of the Livestock system.
“For MACBAN, partnership with domestic and foreign value chain actors is critical. Whether with fodder and pasture specialists at NAPRI, Zaria or dairy processors from Europe or cross-breeding specialists from Brazil or vaccine developers from NVRI, Vom in Jos, partnership across the livestock ecosystem is a requirement. Any plan that does not place such a step at its core is doomed to fail.
“Therefore, for MACBAN, the recent discussions between the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Development Finance Department and dairy processors is a non-starter.
“The challenge is not solved by lending money at 9% and requiring dairy companies to go to Kaduna, Niger, Plateau, Kano or Oyo to locate and develop at least 10,000 hectares of land within a grazing reserve commencing on or before September 2019.
“We believe such approach does not speak to the aspirations of our members because without the Pastoralist crop farmers, processors, bankers, ranchers, technical workers, extension service providers, geneticists, and other stakeholders being involved, the likely hood of failure will be very high.
“What is also most alarming with the CBN proposal is the invitation given to the dairy processors to come up with their own plan on how they will develop their dairy farms of at least 10,000 Ha in the grazing reserves proposed to them by CBN with cheap CBN loans at 9% interest.
“This move is disastrous on two counts: one, it disregards completely FGN approved NLTP that clearly outlines the necessary steps needed to be taken to transform the livestock subsector over 10 years in line with the desires and aspirations of all consulted stakeholders.
“Secondly, the need for FGN regulations and incentives for the roles of all partners in the transformation processes to achieve the goals of peaceful coexistence between crop farmers and pastoralists as well as enhancement of the pastoral productivity through organic modernization of the pastoral production base with capacity to retain their cultural livestock linkage in modernity and innovation for generations to come.
“In view of this, we are advising the CBN to retrace its steps and take a productive role that does not undo the work done to date. As much as the infusion of capital into the livestock sub-sector is deeply appreciated and welcome, it must occur in the right strategic, stakeholder and cluster development context as provided in the NLTP framework.
“It is important that the spirit of partnership and transparent dialogue with which the NLTP was developed be maintained and allowed to thrive. Secret, coerced, backroom deals struck based on fear and threats including withdrawal of access to foreign exchange cannot be the model for solving a problem of this magnitude.
“That is at the heart of a growing security crisis and existential dimensions that requires long-term strategic investment and execution framework by the very nature of livestock production characteristics. Therefore, CBN should in all sincerity come to the table and join the all-inclusive reformist efforts underway under the NLTP rather than reinvent the wheel once again.
“Furthermore, Transforming Nigeria’s livestock sub-sector from a basic, subsistence low technology, conflict-stricken status into a world-class, productive, safe and profitable industry devoid of conflicts requires the involvement of all stakeholders including the pastoralists and crop farmers.
“There is a pilot project in Kachia Grazing Reserve in Kaduna State-funded by business innovation facility (BIF-UK AID) where a small scale dairy value change was set up and all the community within and around are participating and benefiting which at long run will resolve crisis between farmers and herders, create jobs for youth and women.
“Any plan that excludes the pastoralists and crop farmers, or does not solve what their essential challenges are falls short of our expectations and support.
“Our main challenges are:
1. To Upscale the pilot project of Kachia grazing reserve
2. Access to a more stable availability of pasture and water;
3. Access to land upon which pasture and water are harnessed;
4. Creation of peaceful coexistence between them and their crop farmers based on mutual interdependence;
5. Access to capacity development for the pastoralists and crop farmers around the grazing reserves to enable them to modernise their current system of livestock production through pilot ranch modelling demonstration; and
6. Access to a secure environment for their families with all the necessary education, health and other public-provided amenities necessary for the development of a modern, heterogeneous, prosperous and peaceful communities.
7. Livestock diseases control and management.
“Nigeria is today at a critical crossroads regarding how to restructure and transform its livestock industry. A restructured industry will produce milk, cheese, dairy supplements and a range of other products that make up a well-functioning dairy and beef cluster. Such a transformed livestock economy will create hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs from extension workers to ranchers to suppliers of forage to veterinarians etc. This industry estimated to be worth over a trillion Naira in market value, can by 2028 serve Nigeria and the broader African market given the emerging opportunities engendered by the new Free Trade Agreement across Africa.
“In view of this, The new National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) 2019-2028 approved by the National Economic Council (NEC) and supported by a deep network of stakeholders’ consultations across the country is the right framework for delivering on this vision. Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) participated extensively in the dialogue leading up to the development of the strategy and endorsed its final form enthusiastically.”