The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, has said that high dependence on imported dairy products necessitated the urgent need for farmers to adopt the proposed diary policy when implemented.
During a stakeholders meeting organized by Sahel Consulting through the Advancing Local Dairy Development in Nigeria (ALDDN), Nanono noted that with 60 per cent of the dairy products consumed in the country imported, the proposed dairy policy would unlock the sector’s potential and induce renewed interest in its development.
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A statement by Sahel Consulting stated that the event, which was held late last month, was to ensure a wider stakeholder engagement in the Nigerian dairy sector to critically review and provide recommendations to the draft national dairy policy.
It stated that the ALDDN programme implemented by the group is utilizing a systematic approach to catalyze a vibrant local dairy sector by improving the productivity of local breeds while promoting local sourcing of milk.
Issues highlighted by Mrs Winnie Lai-Solarin, the Acting Director, Department of Animal Husbandry Services (DAHS), Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are the reflection of the strategic areas the ALDDN programme is working on to unlock the potentials in the dairy sector.
“During the breakout sessions with various stakeholders, extensive discussions and recommendations were provided to improve the proposed dairy policy. It was pointed out that commercial feed and fodder production in Nigeria is essential in intensifying and facilitating the development of the value chain through strengthening the demand and supply along the value chain.”
The Sahel Consulting statement noted that the programme has engaged 140 commercial fodder producers to cultivate 400 hectares of land through farming of several kinds of cereal, grasses and legumes to produce silage and hay.
“This policy, when implemented, will encourage farmers to adopt commercial production of fodder and market it at affordable price to smallholder dairy farmers for the improvement of animal health, productivity and household income.
“This dairy production component of the policy also aligns with one of the targets of the ALDDN programme – to increase the milk yield of at least 75,000 cows from 15,000 dairy households by at least 30 per cent through genetics and breeding improvement, increased access to animal health services and training of smallholder dairy farmers on improved dairy farming practices.”