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Buhari regime moves to reduce importation of cows, sheep into Nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime has announced a new national dairy policy to reduce the importation of livestock products to scale up local production and generate income.

The permanent secretary at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ernest Umakhihe, disclosed this at the opening of the National Dairy Policy validation workshop in Abuja on Tuesday.

Mr Umakhihe described the policy as apt and articulate, aligning with the federal government’s vision for the dairy industry.

“This approach is to significantly reduce importation of livestock and livestock products and at the same time stimulate exports to enhance national income generation,” he said.

Stating that the policy was long overdue, he explained that arrangements had been in place to minimise the huge amount spent on importing products.

“There has been a continuous drive towards meeting national sufficiency in dairy production to reduce the huge amount spent on importation of dairy products in order to bridge the huge gap between supply and demand,” added the permanent secretary.

According to him, the draft policy will support the implementation of the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Plan (NATIP) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD).

He further mentioned that it would give defined direction for the country’s dairy industry where all players at “whatever scale will be expected to abide by rules of operation, in terms of production, processing, and marketing of dairy products in Nigeria.”

Mr Umakhihe further explained that the private sector would remain in the lead while the government “will provide the enabling environment through policies, infrastructure, systems control processes, and oversight support.”

Winnie Lai-Solarin, a director at the Department of Animal Husbandry Services, Ministry of Agriculture, stressed that the dairy industry’s role could not be overemphasised as far as quality nutrition and overall food security were concerned.

“There is a need for a mechanism to effectively regulate the dairy sector at all levels starting from animal breeding, milk collection, processing, and marketing,” added Ms Lai-Solarin.

(NAN)

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