The federal government, on Wednesday, mentioned the development of a new national dairy strategy, to reduce imports of related goods, increase domestic production, and improve marketing in the country.
Dr Ernest Umakhihe, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), declared this at a workshop on the National Dairy Policy in Abuja.
He stated that such policy formulation, frequently necessitated a succession of phases in order to reach the intended result, while satisfying the objectives of all essential stakeholders who would be directly and indirectly affected by its implementation.
He affirmed that the government had meticulously followed all of the basic steps toward developing a new dairy policy, which resulted in the validation of the draft policy document.
Umakhihe further expressed the existing presence of the continual push, to achieve national sufficiency in dairy production in order to lower the huge amount spent on dairy product imports and bridge the huge gap between supply and demand.
On this note, the (draft) policy would support the implementation of the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan (NATIP) and provide a defined direction for the country’s dairy industry, whereby all players, regardless of level, would be expected to follow rules of operation in terms of dairy product production, processing, and marketing.
According to the permanent secretary, successive governments have worked to reduce the gap through programs like, the dairy development program and the national cattle breed improvement program, among others, thus generating chances for private sector engagement.
As a solution, he charged the stakeholders with creating a document that would survive the current generation.
Mrs Winnie Lai-Solarin, Director of the Ministry’s Animal Husbandry Services Department, stated that the dairy sub-sector plays an important role in the country’s agro-economy, contributing to the citizenry’s qualitative nutrition and the country’s overall food security.
She stated that the main issue was low milk output, improper handling, and post-harvest losses of dairy products.
She said: “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.”