By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The federal government has expressed a serious worry over the low consumption of milk in the country, especially because of the huge gap between local supply and demand for the commodity.
The government said the inability to meet the national sufficiency in dairy production has resulted in the use of scarce funds to import the products.
To change the situation, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Muhammad Sabo Nanono, said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was doing everything possible to provide the enabling environment for sustainable direct investment in the dairy industry and other key sectors of the economy.
The Minister said the nation needs to “harness our potentials in the dairy sector” because of the “nutritional and livelihood importance of milk and other dairy products in Nigeria.”
According to him, “The per capita consumption of milk is 8 litres per year, representing very low consumption levels when compared with the global averages of 44 litres of milk, consequently, the long neglect of the livestock sector has put a lot of burden on the import bills of the country.”
He blamed “increase in population and urbanisation” for the widening gap between supply and demand for dairy products, noting that the “consumption of aggregated and bulk milk is less than 20 per cent of the local potential because the industry is “largely subsistence and consist of local milk production, importation, processing, marketing and consumption.”
Mr Nanono, therefore, stressed “the need to foster sub-sectorial growth, one that is inclusive of smallholders and all key players along in the dairy value chain,” pointing out that it requires “the buy-in of national and multinational stakeholders.”
“To facilitate this growth, the Ministry is presently collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment (FMITI), Raw Material Research Development Council (RMRDC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the private sector, to promote and develop the local dairy industry,” he added.
The Minister, who was at the Wider Stakeholders Engagement on National Dairy Policy held at the Reiz Continental Hotel on Tuesday, said that the collaboration will facilitate the process of evolving a National Dairy Policy that will articulate a clear road map and strategies for the attainment of the development aspirations in the sector.
In his remarks, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Adeniyi Adebayo, explained that the essence of the policy is not to puncture the existing success recorded in the dairy industry but rather to strengthen it, adding that the dairy policy document is consistent with the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).
He assured that the “government will consider and harness the inputs, observations and contributions arising from this engagement with a view to taking a position that will be in the best interest of the dairy industry and the economy in general.”
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