NIGERIA – The Federal Government of Nigeira has unveiled that it is in the process of establishing a National Dairy Policy that will help in boosting milk production as well as develop other dairy products.

The Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Umar, said that the policy will further help in addressing challenges of the Nigerian dairy sector.

He highlighted that the new policy will focus on infrastructure development, processing, dairy husbandry, quality control, product development, industry and sectoral cooperation.

Speaking at the 4th Global Dairy Congress Africa in Abuja, Umar said that this was part of the Federal Government’s bid to transform the country’s dairy sub-sector into a major global player in the supply of wholesome dairy products.

“There is a need to foster sub-sectoral growth – one that is inclusive of smallholders and all key players along the value chain. This requires buy-in from national and multinational stakeholders.

“To facilitate this growth, we are in the process of evolving a National Dairy Policy that will articulate a clear road map for our development aspirations and strategies involving broad spectrum stakeholders and multinationals.”

He noted that the Nigerian dairy industry was largely subsistence and consisted of milk production, importation, processing, marketing and consumption with local milk production contributing a conservative estimate of 50,000 litres per day.

“Nigeria’s milk production accounts for only 13 per cent of West African production and 0.01 per cent of global dairy output. Our dairy requirement is largely met by 60 per cent imports and 40 per cent local production.

“Nigeria’s annual imports of milk and other dairy products are currently estimated at US$1.3bn. Despite its huge cattle population, Nigeria’s milk production falls far short of its demand.

“With the majority of the national herd owned mostly by smallholder and peri-urban cattle farmers, there is a huge potential for a viable dairy industry built around these producers with an appropriate linkage to commercial dairy processors,” he said.

This development he said might constitute a potential area of veritable investment for discerning stakeholders.

He added that among other things, the national dairy policy would foster sub-sectoral growth, inclusive of smallholders and all key players along the value chain.

The Vice President of Danish-based dairy company, Arla Global Dairy Products Limited, Mr Steen Hadsbjerg, said Nigeria’s milk consumption was below World Health Organisation (WHO) requirement.

According to him, while the WHO requirement stands at 18kg daily, the daily milk consumption in Nigeria is approximately 11.2kg.

He noted that the statistics reflected an indication that more needed to be done in improving local milk production and consumption in the country.