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World Milk Day: National Dairy Policy To Drive Industry Transformation – FG

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The Minister of State for Agriculture, Sen. Aliyu Abdullahi.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Sen. Aliyu Abdullahi.

The Federal Government has announced that the National Dairy Policy, set for launch on Tuesday, June 4, 2024, is poised to transform the dairy industry in Nigeria. 

This announcement was made by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Sen. Aliyu Abdullahi during a press briefing to mark World Milk Day 2024. The global theme for this year’s celebration is “Let’s Celebrate Nutritious and Sustainable Dairy,” with a national focus on “Harnessing the Nutrition and Investment Opportunities in the Dairy Value Chain.”

Abdullahi emphasised that the policy aims to address the myriad challenges facing the dairy sector and drive national development, benefiting the nutrition of Nigerians. He outlined the significant obstacles the industry faces, such as the lack of modern global best practices for cross-breeding and calving, midstream challenges, low investment, disorganised milk collection schemes, high costs of milk collection and cold chain facilities, poor transportation infrastructure, unstable electricity supply, pervasive insecurity, limited access to finance and inadequate dairy infrastructure.

He noted that Nigeria currently spends $1.5 billion annually on importing dairy products due to a production deficit, as Nigerians consume an average of 1.6 billion liters of milk and its products. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration is determined to attain national production security, with the aim of eventually exporting dairy products to other African countries under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

“In keeping with the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, we urgently need to reverse this trend,” Abdullahi stated. “You will recall the press briefing in October 2023 by the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, in which he emphasised that meat, dairy, eggs, fish and other protein from animal sources will receive special intervention to increase productivity with a target of an annual growth rate of 10 per cent year-on-year.”

He further explained that the National Dairy Policy has been developed to serve as a roadmap for transforming the dairy industry over the coming years.

World Milk Day Stakeholders
A cross section of stakeholders during the World Milk Day celebration at the ministry headquarters in Abuja.

“The implementation of the new Dairy Policy will ensure improved dairy farming practices, increased investment in dairy processing and preservation, evidence-based policy implementation, enhanced collaboration, ease of business for the dairy industry, fostering public-private partnerships, embracing technology and innovation, empowering women-friendly and youth-centric business models, promoting good animal health practices, and monitoring and evaluating progress,” Abdullahi added.

The minister also announced plans to launch a ‘Renewed Hope Milk Industry’ public awareness campaign to highlight the importance of dairy products for nutrition and health, particularly among vulnerable groups like children and pregnant women. He stressed the urgency of transforming the livestock sector, especially the dairy value chain, to attain food and nutrition security.

In his goodwill message, the president of the Commercial Dairy Ranchers Association of Nigeria (CODARAN), Muhammadu Abubakar highlighted the potential of the dairy industry as a hotbed of opportunities for both wealth creation and nutrition security. “We are confident that the event, especially the conference and exhibitions, will yield practical recommendations for the sustainable development of the dairy industry. We also hope that the Federal Government of Nigeria will extend more support to the dairy industry and its players,” Abubakar said.

He urged members of CODARAN and all industry players to affirm their commitment and increase investments in backward integration to enhance the transformation of the Nigerian dairy industry into a major contributor to Nigeria’s socio-economic development.

A cross-section of international and national partners praised the Minister for the approved National Dairy Policy, expressing optimism that it would be a game-changer for the dairy industry. Stakeholders present at the press briefing included representatives from FrieslandCampina WAMCO, Sahel Consulting Agriculture and Nutrition Limited, Promasidor Nigeria, L & Z, Habib Yoghurt, CODARAN and various development partners.

The National Dairy Policy represents a significant step forward in addressing the challenges and unlocking the potential of Nigeria’s dairy sector. With strategic implementation and collaboration among stakeholders, the policy aims to foster a more sustainable and productive dairy industry, ultimately contributing to the nation’s nutritional and economic well-being.

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