With a population of 211 million people, Nigeria is the seventh most populous country and forecast to jump to third in less than 30 years. However, rapid urbanization and rising youth unemployment mean protein deficiency and nutrition security continue to be a real concern.

On average, Nigerians consume protein equivalent to about one chicken per year and 30 eggs, highlighting the need for access to more affordable protein.

Based on local needs and trends, for soy specifically, the gap between the imbalance of supply and demand is forecast to increase, according to Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, of Amo Byng, LTD, who predicts an overall deficit of more than 1.6 million metric tons of soybeans by the year 2030. This is after taking into consideration implied productivity and yield gains.

To close this gap, poultry consumption would need to increase 10-fold, taking demand for soybeans from 1.3 million metric tons to 14 million metric tons. To facilitate this growth and help the fill the protein gap, collaboration is critical.

“We have a shared priority of enabling nutrition and food security for families, communities and countries around the world, and more specifically for today, to increase Nigerians access to healthy and nutritional food,” said Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC).

U.S. Soy is a high-quality source of protein used around the world in feed rations for poultry, pork and aquaculture diets, and in human foods and oil.

Sutter and others welcomed leaders from Nigeria to discuss and enhance collaboration to enable the country’s industry to meet the country’s vision for nutrition and food security.

Nigeria Now, hosted by USSEC, welcomed His Excellency, The Honorable Ben Ayade, Governor of the State of Cross River, and leaders from Nigeria’s poultry industry to explore partnership synergies ahead of the International Production & Processing Expo.

“We hope Nigeria will take a diversified and multi-faceted approach to achieving food and nutrition security,” added Kevin Roepke, Regional Director of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, USSEC. “Local food and soy production is and will remain critically important, and we invite leaders to consider complementing their local supply with high quality imports to most effectively and sustainably meet nutrition needs.”

To address these needs, the nation’s government and industry leaders are encouraged to collaborate to help establish supply chains, and the confidence in them for capital and resource allocation. These supply chains must first be developed and trusted before these fundamental needs and demands can be met.

“As USSEC collaborates with agronomy and poultry industry leaders and government officials in Nigeria, we applaud the partnerships that are in place today and hope that Nigeria Now will help provide a pathway for the accelerating food and nutrition security through collaboration and the identification of additional synergies and strengths,” said Roepke.

One such collaborative effort is the Soy Excellence Center (SEC) initiative in Nigeria.

“The SEC is an investment that brings partnerships and local expertise to the table to build Nigeria’s young leaders’ expertise in the food industry,” Roepke explains. “The SECs take a holistic approach at bringing together a broad array of expertise and input from leaders in Nigeria’s food and feed supply chain. While relatively new, this initiative is moving the needle in advancing Nigeria’s workforce training and development, aimed at the protein value chain.”

Sutter echoed the commitment to collaboration.

“We want to build on our growing partnerships in 2022 to help Nigerian leaders meet their food and nutrition vision for the citizens of their country,” Sutter said. “Having these discussions together opens the doors for continued conversations and more collaboration.”

USSEC is a dynamic partnership of U.S. soybean farmers, processors, commodity shippers, merchandisers, allied agribusinesses, and agricultural organizations; and connects food and agriculture industry leaders through a robust membership program. USSEC is farmer-funded by checkoff funds invested by the United Soybean Board, various state soybean councils, the food and agriculture industry, and the American Soybean Association’s investment of cost-share funding provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).