The Nigerian government will seek to proscribe milk imports by 2022 as Africa’s biggest economy eyes self-sufficiency in dairy production, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Sabo Nanono said on Tuesday.

“We are planning in this ministry and watch my words, in the next two years we will ban the importation of milk into this country. And ask me why: we have 25 million cows in this country to produce five million litres per day.

“The issue is now logistics, which we have started by setting up milk processing plants across the country. I see no reason why we should import milk in the next two years. We should stop the importation of milk.”

Nigeria, which spends between $1.2 billion and $1.5 billion yearly importing dairy products, announced a forex ban for the items last year through the central bank which, this February, handed the liberty to import the products to six firms, notably Nestle, FrieslandCampina, Promasidor and Chi Limited whom it said had shown considerable commitment to local milk production through backward integration.

Government also has blocking fish importation, which costs the country about $1.2 billion every year, in mind, the minister added.

“In the next two, three months, most of the prices will level off to a more comfortable level,” Mr Nanono said of food costs, further saying the price of milled rice is expected to fall to between N14,000 and N15,000.

Nigeria’s food inflation climbed to 16% in August, up from 15.48%. Headline inflation leapt to a 28-month high of 13.22% and has been in double digits for about three years now even though the central bank has always nursed the hope of keeping it between 6-9%.

The inflation data for last month is due from the statistics office.

Nanono said Nigeria recorded an improvement in the production of key staple crops in 2019, noting that maize and rice production jumped from 12.8 million metric tonnes (mmt) and 12.3 mmt to 13.94 mmt and 14.28 mmt respectively.

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