Governments at all levels have been advised to invest more in dairy production in order to bridge the gap between production and distribution of the product across the country.
Industry experts who came together to discuss opportunities and challenges in the fast growing dairy industry at a workshop in Lagos recently, gave the advice.
The first edition of the workshop, which was organised by Tetrapak with the theme: “Dairy-Unlocking Opportunities Deeper in the Pyramid”, was aimed at sharing innovative global and local trends with the local manufacturers to inspire development in dairy and ultimately increase penetration and access to dairy business in West Africa.
The Technical Adviser in charge of Youth and Gender at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Mosunmola Umoru, who spoke at the workshop, explained that dairy production was largely subsistence as pastoralists account for about 95 per cent of herd used in production.
“Pastoralists have little or no education, their production capacity is faulty, which in turn affects the value chain which includes; storage, distribution and consumption.
“I am using this opportunity to call on the government to implement policies that will ensure dairy production is harnessed to its fullest potential to meet the nutritional needs of the masses,” Umoru said.
She equally highlighted some challenges facing the industry which includes increasing production, maintaining quality and shelf life, and ensuring proper distribution.
She further stressed that strategic investment would require setting up the pastoralists into clusters and teaching them the technology of milking cows, storing milk, packaging and distribution.
The Managing Director, Tetra Pak, Oshiokamele Aruna, also called on government to look into the dairy industry as a whole, with a view to addressing the challenges of the dairy industry.
According to him, the workshop was organised to highlight the opportunities and to address the gap that is existing in the dairy industry.
The government needs to look into policies and infrastructure and more infrastructure should be provided to tackle the challenges of transportation in the dairy business, Aruna said.
“Dairy is an important aspect of our life and we believe it’s a good time to show how we work with people in the industry and harness the opportunities we have in this vast industry,” Aruna further said, adding that technology will play a very important role in addressing the challenges of the industry.
The Marketing Manager, Tetra Pak, Mr. Solomon Yu, said Tetra Pak got involved with the business because diary consumption in the country is still very low, despite the value of the nutritional product, which he explained, had been confirmed as a source of balanced diet for children and adults.
“We are working with our customers to accelerate dairy consumption in this region. We are one part of the whole value chain to drive the increase and awareness of dairy consumption,” Yu said, adding that fresh dairy milk is pretty expensive, and to increase consumption we need to make it more affordable. We need to find new occasions for dairy so we can have more consumers.