The Federal Government says that the implementation of the National Dairy Product Policy will reduce the importation of livestock products and stimulate exports to improve the generation of national income.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, made the revelation on Tuesday, at the opening of the National Daily Policy Validation workshop in Abuja.
The workshop was organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
Mr. Umakhihe described the National Dairy Policy as apt and articulate, which is in accordance with the Federal Government’s vision for the dairy industry.
“There has been a continuous push to achieve national sufficiency in dairy production to reduce the huge amount spent on imported dairy products in order to close the huge gap between supply and demand.
“Successive administrations have made an effort to close the gap through programs such as the Dairy Development Program, the National Livestock Improvement Program, among others, thus creating opportunities for private sector participation.
“The policy project will support the implementation of the National Plan for Agricultural Technology and Innovation (NATIP) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).
“It will give a definite direction to the country’s dairy industry, in which all players at any scale are expected to comply with the operating rules, in terms of production, processing and marketing of dairy products in Nigeria.
“I am pleased that we are gradually approaching the stage of finalizing the draft document for this validation workshop.
“This effort to implement a National Dairy Products Policy for the country is suitable for the realization of the vision of the Federal Government articulated through the focus of change and a standard practice to be applied at all levels of society, public and private, towards a pragmatic national development.
“This approach is to significantly reduce the importation of livestock and livestock products and, at the same time, stimulate exports to improve the generation of national income.
“The private sector will remain in the lead, while the government will provide the enabling environment through policies, infrastructure, systems control processes and supervisory support,” he said.
Earlier, Winnie Lai-Solarin, Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry Services at the Ministry of Agriculture, said that the role of the dairy industry could not be overstated when it comes to quality nutrition and overall food safety.
He noted that the dairy subsector has been hampered by many institutional problems and challenges that have impeded its growth along with other agricultural subsectors.
“The main problem is low milk yield, poor handling and post-harvest losses of dairy products.
“We need to continually improve the productivity of dairy animals from a genetic, health and managerial point of view to be able to meet market-driven productivity targets.
“A mechanism is needed to effectively regulate the dairy sector at all levels, from animal husbandry, milk collection, processing and marketing.
“The National Policy on Dairy Products will provide a framework to improve the productivity of the dairy sector in a well-planned and sustainable manner in the various agro-ecological zones of the country,” he said.
In his message of goodwill, Prof. Hussaini Ibrahim, Director General of the Commodity Research Development Council, noted that a national dairy policy was a fundamental foundation needed to drive a viable dairy industry.
Mr. Ibrahim, who was represented by Dr. Mary Abiareye, expressed the Agency’s willingness to partner in advancing the improvement of Nigeria’s Local Dairy Sector.
“This is a very important draft document that has input from broader stakeholders who will direct and guide dairy operations.
“There is no doubt that the validation of this viable policy that serves the interest of all actors in the dairy industry will stimulate and boost a viable dairy sector.
“This is a very important draft document to guide and direct dairy operations in Nigeria,” he said.
Furthermore, Temi Adegoroye, Managing Partner of Sahel Consulting Agriculture and Nutrition Limited, noted that the policy document was timely and an important milestone in the agricultural sector.
He said it would guide public and private investments and strengthen small dairy farmers in Nigeria, as well as the dairy sector.
For his part, the Registrar of the Institute of Animal Sciences of Nigeria, Prof. Eustace Iyayi, who was represented by Bisi Akinfolarin, said that the document would reposition the dairy subsector in Nigeria.
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