By Nneka Nwogwugwu
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono in collaboration with other stakeholders, has stressed the need to harness Nigeria’s potentials in dairy production.
Nanono emphasized this need in a 2-day meeting that ended on Tuesday with stakeholders in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Food and Agricultural Organs(FAO), the Central Bank of Nigeria( CBN), Sahel Consulting.
Others include: Raw Materials Research Development Council, (RMRDC), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Advance Local Dairy Development in Nigeria (ALDDN), amongst others.
Nanono, stated that the Federal Government is committed to providing the enabling environment for sustainable direct investment in the dairy industry and other key sectors of the economy.
He said “The need to harness our potentials in the dairy sector’ address contemporary critical socio-economic and national herd management issues has induced renewed interest in the development of the Diary particularly in recognition of the nutritional and livelihood importance of milk and other dairy products in Nigeria.
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“The Federal Government welcomes at all times , the support , collaboration and partnerships of all concerned stakeholders towards ensuring the success of her National food security and economic diversification initiatives.”
While highlighting the present situation of the dairy industry, the minister noted that the industry is “largely subsistence and consist of local milk production, importation,processing , marketing and consumption. The consumption of aggregated and bulk milk is less than 20% of the local potential “.
He said the gap between supply and demand for dairy products was widening as a result of increase in population and urbanization.
The Minister further explained that “the per capita consumption of milk is 8 liters per year representing very low consumption levels when compared with the global averages of 44 litres of milk , consequently, the long neglect of the livestock sector has put a lot of burden on the import bills of the country.
“The need to foster sub-sectorial growth, one that is inclusive of smallholders and all key players along in the dairy value chain”.
“To facilitate this growth, the Ministry is presently collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment (FMITI), Raw Material Research Development Council (RMRDC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the private sector, to promote and develop the local dairy industry.”
He said that the collaboration will facilitate the process of evolving a National Dairy Policy that will articulate a clear road map and strategies for the attainment of the development aspirations in the sector.
He charged the Stakeholders to ensure inputs from all angles to the policy document that will be forwarded to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval and subsequent presentation to the general public for guidance.
In his remarks, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo, stated that the essence of the policy is not to puncture the existing success recorded in the dairy industry but rather to strengthen it, adding that the dairy policy document is consistent with the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe said that Nigeria spends a huge amount on the importation of dairy products to bridge the huge gap between supply and demand, adding that the proposed policy will give defined direction for the country’s dairy industry.