NIGERIA – To bolster Nigeria’s dairy sector, the federal government has advocated for increased private-sector investment and public-private partnerships.

Winnie Lai-Solarin, Director of Animal Husbandry Services at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, made the call during her address on  World Milk Day celebrations in Abuja.

Lai-Solarin highlighted the significant strides made in the Nigerian dairy industry, noting its evolution from traditional practices to more modernized systems.

However, she acknowledged the persistent challenges that the sector faces, including inadequate infrastructure, inconsistent milk yields, and limited access to advanced technologies.

“Nigeria, with its population exceeding 200 million, represents the largest market for dairy products in West Africa,” Lai-Solarin stated.

“The dairy industry holds tremendous potential for growth, playing a crucial role in our nation’s agricultural and economic development. It contributes significantly to food security, employment, and economic growth.”

To harness this potential, Lai-Solarin emphasized the need for substantial investment in the animal feed and fodder sector, which is crucial for enhancing food and nutritional security.

She highlighted that the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), launched in 2019, aims to modernize livestock production, which includes advancing dairy farming through improved breeding techniques, better grazing practices, and enhanced veterinary services.

Furthermore, the government is also focusing on policies to reduce dependency on imported milk by bolstering local production capabilities.

The strategy is part of a broader initiative to address some of the sector’s key issues, such as limited access to finance, technology, and training for smallholder farmers.

“We must invest in infrastructure development for milk collection, aggregation, processing, and distribution. Additionally, we must enhance veterinary services and disease management to support the health and productivity of our livestock,” Lai-Solarin added.

She also stressed the importance of implementing the national dairy policy and strengthening regulations to foster industry growth.

The policy framework aims to create a more robust and self-sufficient dairy sector, reducing import reliance and encouraging local production.

Lai-Solarin highlighted the government’s commitment to transforming Nigeria’s dairy industry into a vibrant and sustainable sector through strategic partnerships and investments.

By addressing these challenges and fostering growth, Nigeria aims to secure its position as a leading West African dairy market player.

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