To boost the local dairy industry and curb the heavy dependency on imported dairy products, the Federal Government, on Tuesday, said the implementation of the National Dairy Policy would reduce the importation of livestock products and solve other issues affecting the industry.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr Ernest Umakhihe, remarked this at the opening ceremony of the National Dairy Policy Validation Workshop organised by the ministry in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, in Abuja.
Speaking, Umakhihe described the National Dairy Policy as an intelligent move, which was following the vision of the Federal Government for the dairy industry.
According to him, the policy was developed after the aspirations of all critical stakeholders that would, directly and indirectly, be affected by its operation was put into consideration, noting that the ministry carefully followed all the preliminary steps to the stage of validation of the draft policy document.
He also said there has been a continuous drive towards meeting national sufficiency in dairy production to reduce the huge amount spent on importation of dairy products, to bridge the huge gap between supply and demand.
“This meeting cannot come at a better time than now because a National Policy for dairy and dairy products in Nigeria is long overdue.
“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 opportunity for private sector participation.
“The draft policy will support the implementation of the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan (NATIP) and FMARD.
It will give defined direction for the country’s dairy industry where all players at whatever scale will be expected to abide by rules of operation, in terms of production, processing and marketing of dairy products in Nigeria.
“I am glad that we are gradually approaching the stage of finalizing the draft document by this validation workshop.
“This effort at putting in place a National Dairy Policy for the country is apt for the realization of the vision of the Federal Government articulated through the change approach and standard practice to be applied at every level of society, public and private, towards a pragmatic national development.
“This approach is to significantly reduce importation of livestock and livestock products and at the same time stimulate exports to enhance national income generation.
The private sector will remain in the lead while the government will provide the enabling environment through policies, infrastructure, systems control processes and oversight support.
Remarking, the Director of Animal Husbandry Services, FMARD, Winnie Lai-Solarin, said the role of the dairy industry cannot be overemphasised as far as quality nutrition and overall food security are concerned.
According to Lai-Solarin, the dairy subsector has been impeded with many issues and institutional challenges that have prevented its growth alongside other agricultural subsectors.
“The major issue is that of low milk yield, poor handling and post-harvest losses of dairy products.
We need to continually improve the productivity of dairy animals genetically, health and management practices to be able to respond to market-driven productivity objectives.
“There is a need for a mechanism to effectively regulate the dairy sector at all levels starting from animal breeding, milk collection.
Processing and marketing.
The National Dairy Policy will give a framework for improving the productivity of the dairy sector in a well-planned and sustainable manner across the various agro-ecological zones of the country,” she stated.
source Agro Nigeria
National Dairy Policy Will Curb Importation of Livestock Products – FG