The Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe has said that the ministry in collaboration with relevant Stakeholders is determined to reduce importation of dairy products, increase local production as well as marketing of dairy products in Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, made this known at the Validation workshop on the National Dairy Policy held in Abuja.
Dr. Umakhihe pointed out that ‘’ policy development of this nature takes series of steps to arrive at the desired end of meeting the aspirations of all critical stakeholders that would directly and indirectly be affected by its operation. We have carefully followed all the preliminary steps to this stage which is validation of the draft policy document’’.
He noted that “successive administrations had made effort to close the gap through programmes rich as Dairy Development Programme, National Livestock Breed improvement Programme, among others thus creating opportunities for private sector participation.”
Umakhihe stated that there has been a continuous drive towards meeting national sufficiency in dairy production to reduce the huge amount spent on the importation of dairy products to bridge the huge gap between supply and demand.
He informed that ‘’ the draft policy will support the implementation of the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan (NATIP) and FMARD. It will give defined direction for the country’s dairy industry where all players at whatever scale will be expected to abide by rules of operation, in terms of production, processing and marketing of dairy products in Nigeria’’
The Permanent Secretary further said that ‘’ the National Dairy Policy for the country is apt for the realization of the vision of the Federal Government articulated through the change approach and a standard practice to be applied at every level of society, public and private, towards a pragmatic national development’’.
He urged the stakeholders to ‘’ produce a document that will outlive the present generation and therefore give your best attention to it’’.
In her welcome address, Director, Animal Husbandry Services Department in the Ministry Mrs. Winnie Lai-Solarin stated that the dairy sub sector plays a significant role in the country’s agro-economy, contributes to the qualitative nutrition of the citizenry and the overall food security status of the nation.
She added that the major issue is that of low milk yield, poor handling, and post-harvest losses of Dairy products, stating that “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.
In his goodwill message, the Director-General/ Chief Executive Officer of Raw Materials Research and Development Council(RMRDC) Prof. Hussani Doko Ibrahim , represented by Dr (Mrs.) Mary Chibuzo Abiaeye reiterated that RMRDC is ever willing and ready to partner in the progress for the upgrading of our Local Dairy Sector. He further said that ‘’ this is very important that the draft document having inputs from wider stakeholders that will direct and guide operations of the dairy sub sector’’. (Nigerian Tribune)