The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says its partnership with the Niger state government for a ranch at the Bobi grazing reserve is to ensure local production of milk.
Mr Anthony Ifechukwu, Special Adviser on Development Finance to the CBN governor Godwin Emefiele, stated this during an inspection of work at the Bobi grazing reserve with the state Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger.
He noted that the local production of milk had become necessary to create jobs, adding that Nigeria was spending 1.5billion dollars a year on milk importation.
“What we are saying is that what we can produce in Nigeria we don’t have to import because by continuous importation we are not allowing our people to maximize their full potentials.
”For every litre of milk we import, you have 14 jobs created there and that means those jobs are lacking in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is spending about 1.5billion dollars per annum on milk importation and we felt with the resources Nigeria has there should be a reversal.
”So we are partnering with the Niger state government to ensure the facility and the environment for this initiative to run is there.”
He revealed that four firms had already indicated interest to invest in the grazing reserve which sits on 30000 hectares of land.
”WAMCO is already on ground here and there is an Irish firm that wants to come here as well.
“Wamco is going to do 10,000 hectares and you can see their tractors working and the same time they are building infrastructure like milk collection center, boreholes and a hydroponics unit.”
On how much the CBN was committing to the project, he said the figures were not yet available but noted that Niger is the pioneer state for such CBN intervention.
Also speaking, Gov. Bello maintained that he was satisfied with the level of work at the grazing reserve, saying the state government would do its best to make the place ready.
“I have seen the need to bring electricity here, provide security, do more roads, boreholes and more sensitisation for the locals to take ownership of what we are doing here.
“In the coming weeks, you will see more development here and hopefully in the next few years we would have a full fledged functional grazing reserve.”
He reiterated his administration’s resolve to transform the livestock industry towards creating jobs for the teeming populace.