Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (FMARD) and Sahel Consulting Chart New Policy Direction for Nigeria’s Dairy Industry

L-R: Audu Grema, senior program officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Ndidi Nwuneli, managing partner, Sahel Consulting; Chioma Achilam, deputy director, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment; Rufus Oluwafemi, head of department- Animal Science, University of Abuja; Ayodeji Ojo, manager – monitoring, evaluation and learning, ALDDN during the wider stakeholder engagement on the National Dairy Policy held in Abuja.

The Federal Government and Sahel Consulting through the Advancing Local Dairy Development in Nigeria (ALDDN) programme have collaborated to develop a National Dairy Policy.

The Nigerian dairy sector is a key part of the country’s quest for food security and the partnership is mean to further boost local milk production.

Stakeholders drawn from the public and private sectors recently gathered to critically review and provide recommendations to the draft of a national dairy policy prepared by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

Ernest Umakhihe, permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture emphasised the vision, mission, and the objectives of the policy framework and the significance of the public and private sectors in fostering the growth of the Nigerian dairy sector.

Similarly, Muhammad Sabo Nanono, minister of Agriculture said that over 60 percent of the dairy products consumed in the country is from importation and this calls for the passing of the proposed dairy policy to unlock the potential of the dairy sector and induce interest in its development.

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 was essential in intensifying and facilitating the development of the value chain through strengthening the demand and supply along the value chain.

Africa’s most populous country spends $1.3 billion yearly on the importation of dairy products as the sector has been faced with challenges that limit production of high-quality raw materials to produce dairy products.

In an attempt to reduce this gap, ALDDN programme, currently being implemented by Sahel Consulting utilises a systematic approach to catalyze a vibrant local dairy sector by improving the productivity of the local breeds while promoting local sourcing of milk.

The ALDDN programme has so far engaged 140 commercial fodder producers to cultivate about 400 hectares of land through farming of several cereals, 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 an affordable price to smallholder dairy farmers for the improvement of animal health, productivity, and household income.

The dairy production component of the National Policy also aligns with one of the targets of the ALDDN program to increase the milk yield of at least 75,000 cows from 15,000 dairy households by at least 30percent through genetics and breeding improvement, increased access to animal health services and training of smallholder dairy farmers on improved dairy farming practices.

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