The United States of America has sent the first shipment of pregnant Jersey breed dairy cows to Ikun Dairy Farm in Ekiti State in Nigeria.
Ikun Dairy Farm is a joint venture between Promasidor Nigeria Limited and Ekiti State Government. The joint venture intends to produce 10,000 liters of milk daily. The Dairy Farm is also expected to receive two more shipments of dairy cows from the United Stated in some weeks. These shipments are expected to provide a better breed of cow that will improve and increase the supply of dairy products in the Nigerian industry.
Counselor for Agricultural Affairs at the U.S Mission to Nigeria, Gerald Smith said that the shipment of U.S dairy cows will increase milk production and also ensure significant food security in Nigeria.
She added that the shipment was successful due to 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. 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.”
However, the venture has come under criticism with doubts being expressed over its success given past experiences.
John Ogunlela, in a Facebook post said: “Both the US and Ekiti government have made a mistake. Ordinarily I would have kept quiet about this but I fear other states and investors may copy the error and lose their money. You wait for the next 3-6 months when the data on those animals will be out. Jerseys are not tropical animals and won’t give acceptable performance. These animals were first brought to Nigeria around 1962 for dairy but nothing came of it.
“The Americans did not advise the Ekiti government along professional lines and were probably interested in headlines of this nature or outright commerce. Temperate region dairy animals do not do well in the tropics and this is something that has been researched, documented with loads of data for the better part of 130 years, so this is not just a brickbats argument but a scientific position.
Other users insisted that Promasidor was not likely to throw money away on the venture and must have done its homework before committing funds.