The Federal Government has resolved to develop the National Dairy Policy after partnering with Sahel Consulting. The policy would be fast-tracked via the Advancing Local Dairy Development in Nigeria (ALDDN) programme.
The resolution was made recently at a meeting between stakeholders from the public and private sectors who gathered to critically review and provide recommendations to the draft of the policy.
Drafted by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), the National Dairy Policy seeks to boost dairy production in the country as the sector was a key part of the country’s quest for food security.
The policy, when implemented, will encourage farmers to adopt commercial production of fodder and off-take it at an affordable price to smallholder dairy farmers for the improvement of animal health, productivity, and household income.
On its part, the ALDDN programme, currently being implemented by Sahel Consulting utilises a systematic approach to catalyse a vibrant local dairy sector by improving the productivity of the local breeds while promoting local sourcing of milk.
It also seeks to boost milk production through genetics and breeding improvement, increased access to animal health services and training of smallholder dairy farmers on improved dairy farming practices.
According to stakeholders at the meeting, Nigeria expends billions of dollars on the importation of dairy, with the sector bedeviled by challenges that tend to limit its production capacity.
Speaking at the meeting, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono stated that Nigeria consumes over 60 percent of dairy products imported into the country.
The Minister further called for an immediate passing of the proposed dairy policy to unlock the potential of the dairy sector and induce interest in its development.
Against this backdrop, the stakeholders, however, resolved that commercial feed and fodder production in Nigeria was essential in intensifying and facilitating the development of the value chain through strengthening the demand and supply.
So far, the ALDDN programme has engaged 140 commercial fodder producers to cultivate about 400 hectares of land through the farming of cereals, grasses, and legumes to produce silage and hay.
Alongside the National Dairy Policy, it seeks to increase the production of milk of at least 75,000 cows from 15,000 dairy households by at least 30 percent.
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