FG commences validation of national dairy policy
Amid efforts to reduce the nation’s dependence on importation of dairy products, the Federal Government, in collaboration with stakeholders, is finalising documents for the development of the national dairy policy.
The policy, when finalised, would among others, help to increase local production, as well as marketing of dairy products in Nigeria and also reduce importation of the product.
Nigeria is said to be importing 60 per cent of the dairy products it consumes and spending about $1.5 billion yearly on importation of the product.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr. Ernest Umakhihe during a validation workshop on the National Dairy Policy yesterday, in Abuja, stated that there has been a continuous drive towards meeting national sufficiency in dairy production to bridge the gap between supply and demand.
He stated that the policy would support the implementation of the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan (NATIP) and give defined direction to the country’s dairy industry where all players at whatever scale would be expected to abide by rules of operation, in terms of production, processing and marketing of dairy products in Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary further said, “The National Dairy Policy for the country is apt for the realisation of the vision of the Federal Government articulated through the change approach and a standard practice to be applied at every level of society, public and private, towards a pragmatic national development.”
He noted that “successive administrations had made efforts to close the gap through programmes such as Dairy Development Programme, National Livestock Breed Improvement Programme, among others thus creating opportunities for private sector participation.”
He urged the stakeholders to “produce a document that will outlive the present generation, and therefore, give your best attention to it’’.
In her welcome address, Director, Animal Husbandry Services Department in the Ministry, Mrs. Winnie Lai-Solarin stated that the dairy sub-sector plays a significant role in the country’s agro-economy, contributes to the qualitative nutrition of the citizenry and the overall food security status of the nation.
She added that the major issue is that of low milk yield, poor handling, and post-harvest losses of dairy products, stating, “we need to continually improve the productivity of dairy animals genetically.