Sahel Consulting Celebrates the 2020 World Milk Day
Two decades ago, on the 1st of June 2000, World Milk Day was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to recognize the importance of milk as a global food, and to celebrate the dairy sector. Each year since, the benefits of milk and dairy products have been actively promoted around the world, including how dairy supports the livelihoods of one billion people. On June 1, 2020, as part of its commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of World Milk Day, Sahel Consulting organized a virtual conference themed “The Critical Role of the Nigerian Dairy Sector in Improving Livelihoods”. The conference highlighted the benefits of dairy with regards to nutrition, affordability and accessibility, and the sector’s passion and commitment to improving the livelihoods of smallholder dairy farmers and feeding our communities.
Ndidi Nwuneli MFR, Cofounder and Managing Partner at Sahel Consulting gave the welcome address and set the agenda for the conference. She highlighted how pivotal a developed dairy industry is to the livelihoods of dairy households, growth of indigenous dairy companies, and diversification of the Nigerian economy. She restated Sahel’s commitment to collaborating with stakeholders to transform the dairy sector through the Advancing Local Dairy Development in Nigeria (ALDDN) program. ALDDN is a five-year program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) that is catalyzing the emergence of a vibrant local dairy sector in an inclusive way that improves the livelihoods, productivity, nutrition, and empowerment of smallholder women dairy farmers and the communities in which they live. ALDDN is being implemented in partnership with dairy processors in Adamawa, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, and Plateau, reaching a total of 15,000 dairy households and 210,000 beneficiaries.
The conference’s Keynote Address was delivered by the Governor of Kaduna State, His Excellency, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. He restated his commitment to developing the livestock and dairy industry, acknowledging its importance to improving the livelihoods of rural households. Highlighted were the ongoing dairy development projects promoted by the Kaduna State Investment Agency in partnership with the private sector. These projects aim to impact at least 10,000 dairy households.
The Governor’s address was followed by a panel discussion on the role of policy in catalyzing the growth of the Nigeria dairy industry. The discussion was moderated by Audu Grema (Ph.D.), Senior Program Officer, BMGF. The panelists were Andrew Kwasari (Ph.D.), Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture and the Coordinator of Project for Agriculture Coordination and Execution; Mairo Ahmad Amshi (Ph.D) MFR, Yobe State Commissioner for Agriculture; Hajiya Halima Lawal, Kaduna State Commissioner for Agriculture; Dipo Adegoke, Assistant Director, Commodities, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment; and Alhaji M. D. Abubakar, Managing Director, L&Z Integrated Farms Nig. Ltd. The panelists emphasized the need for the establishment of a policy that creates an enabling environment for the local dairy sector to develop and compete favorably with foreign dairy products. This should be supported by government-backed initiatives that provide better infrastructure such as rural roads, water and electricity, and public campaigns that encourage the consumption of milk and other dairy products, especially those produced from locally sourced milk.
Additionally, Dr. Kwasari emphasized the need for an organized framework that coordinates capital, transformative knowledge, and physical assets to improve the dairy industry. It was agreed that there is a need for better coordination and collaboration among industry stakeholders.
Read more: Business Day