The federal government yesterday said a new national dairy policy was underway to cut importation of related products, increase local production and enhance marketing in the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr. Ernest Umakhihe disclosed this at a workshop on the National Dairy Policy in Abuja.
He said such policy development often required series of steps to achieve the desired result as well as satisfy the aspirations of all critical stakeholders that would directly and indirectly be affected by its operation.
He said the government had carefully followed all the preliminary steps toward producing a new dairy policy, leading to the validation of the draft policy document.
Umakhihe, pointed out that there had been continuous drive towards meeting national sufficiency in dairy production to reduce the huge amount spent on the importation of dairy products as well as bridge the huge gap between supply and demand.
He said 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 where all players at whatever level would be expected to abide by rules of operation, in terms of production, processing and marketing of dairy products.
The permanent secretary said successive administrations had made effort to close the gap through programmes such as the dairy development programme, national livestock breed improvement programme, among others, thus creating opportunities for private sector participation.
He, therefore, charged the stakeholders to produce a document that would outlive the present generation.
The Director, Animal Husbandry Services Department in the ministry Mrs. Winnie Lai-Solarin, said the dairy sub-sector plays a significant role in the country’s agro-economy, contributing to the qualitative nutrition of the citizenry and the overall food security of the country.
She said the major issue at hand related to the low milk yield, poor 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.”