By Vivian Emoni
Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to retrace its steps on the proposed policy to restrict foreign exchange allocation for milk importation.
Baba Othman Ngelzarma National Secretary of MACBAN made the call in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
The CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele had on July 23 at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, announced a planned policy restricting allocation of foreign exchange for milk importation into Nigeria.
“Although a desired long term outcome where local production substitutes importation, implementation of such a policy requires a robust strategy that addresses underlying issues,’’ the statement quoted Ngelzarma as saying.
According to him, MACBAN notes that the National Livestock Transformation Plan of (NLTP) as an integrated plan will holistically solve the historic challenges that have deprived the pastoralists from producing high quantity and quality beef and dairy products demanded by the Nigerian market.
He said NLTP would do this by ensuring that the pastoralists goods do not end up being sold at sub-standard prices.
The association said that NLTP would modernise the industry through allowing ranches to develop organically with pastoralists as core participants in the livestock production chain.
He said that the move would ultimately impact wealth creation.
“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, stakeholders and cluster development context as provided in the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) framework.
“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 will also help to transfer knowledge mechanisms. This we strongly believe that it is safer, more stable sustainable path way than one which favours only one part of the livestock system.
“Therefore, for MACBAN, the recent discussions between the CBN’s Development Finance Department and dairy processors is a non-starter,’’ the statement quoted Ngelzarma as saying.
According to him, the challenge is not solved by lending money at nine per cent 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.
Ngelzarma said the association believed that approach did not speak to the aspirations of its members.
He said without the pastoralists, crop farmers, processors, bankers, ranchers, technical workers, extension service providers, geneticists, and other stakeholders being involved, “the likelihood of failure will be very high’’.
Ngelzarma noted that the challenges had deprived the pastoralists from producing high quantity and quality beef and the dairy products demanded by the Nigerian market, ensuring that their goods do not end up being sold at sub-standard prices.
He said that partnering with domestic and foreign value chain actors was critical.
“Whether with fodder and pasture specialists at National Animal Production Institution (NAPRI), Zaria or dairy processors from Europe or cross breeding specialists from Brazil.
“It can also be vaccine developers from the National Veterinary Research Institution (NVRI) Vom in Jos as well as partnership across the livestock ecosystem is a requirement.
“Any plan that does not place such a step at its core is doomed to fail,’’ he said.
The association said that the invitation given to the diary processors to come up with their own plan on how they would develop their dairy farms of at least 10,000 hectares was disturbing.
“This move is disastrous on two counts, firstly, it disregards completely Federal Government approved NLTP.
“The approval that clearly outlines the necessary steps needed to be taken to transform the livestock sub-sector over 10 years in line with the desires and aspirations of all consulted stakeholders.
“Secondly, the need for Federal Government 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.
“Also to enhance the pastoral productivity through organic modernisation of the pastoral production base with capacity to retain their cultural livestock linkage in modernity and innovation for generations to come.
Ngelzarma said that it was important that the spirit of partnership and transparent dialogue with which the NLTP was developed be maintained and should allowed to thrive.
“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,’’ he said.
The association, however, urged the CBN to join all-inclusive reformist efforts underway under the NLTP rather than reinvent the wheel once again.