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Stakeholders urge Government to Support Dairy Industry.

Stakeholders have called on government to support the expansion of the dairy industry.

According to them, the livestock sector is facing many challenges from disease outbreaks to environmental and resource constraints.

They spoke at the 2019 Development Icon Forum (DIF), a policy-research-practice (PoReP) platform of the Development Practice Academy (DEPRA), which held at the University of Ibadan International Conference Centre, Ibadan, Oyo State.

With the theme: “The path of dairy enterprise to sustainable development” . The forum  was attended by over 200 participants with expertise in research, academics, animal husbandry, dairy farming and processing, civil societies, policy makers and development practitioners, among others, across the dairy value chain.

Participants demonstrated the industry’s commitment to sustainable beef production and sourcing, and also recognized the country’s role and responsibility in the promotion of sustainable livestock.
According to them, the  development of the dairy industry calls for responsibility and know-how, adding that sustainable solutions are crucial for the industry to remain on a steady growth path without any setback.
To address food safety concern and productivity, stakeholders urged  the government  to work  with major local and global dairy processors, and collaborate with authorities, universities and other actors to find  ways to produce milk in good  conditions. Focus, according to them, should be on contributing to the task of modernising milk production, increasing milk quality and yield, and developing dairy farming knowledge and competence.
They discussed key priorities in the industry, from land and feed availability to the use of antibiotics and animal health.
While milk demand is growing rapidly, stakeholders noted that the lack of quality feed could jeopardise the country’s ambitious milk production plans.
They said huge investment was needed in cattle feed capacity to ensure feed availability.
The National President, Animal Science Association of Nigeria (ASAN), Mr. Taiwo Adeoye, emphasised the need for multi-stakeholder cooperation to promote sustainability in the industry.
Renowned animal scientist, Prof Funso Sonaiya, x-rayed the development gaps in animal husbandry industry.
He stressed that while the industry was focusing on improving domestic production efficiency, the efforts have not been able to keep up with growing demands.
In a communique issued at the event, the stakeholders identified the challenges of policy and advocacy, lack of data on dairy value chain, virile communications and information sharing, adequate dairy extension, shared vision and markets.
To boost the country’s self-sufficiency in milk production, the forum urged the government to focus on continuing growth, building scales in processing capacities, and enhancing inclusive growth through the organised sector – thereby benefiting stakeholders across the value chain.
They recommended establishment of private sector-driven National Dairy Board comprised of critical stakeholders in the dairy value chain.
For feed and feeding, stakeholders said  there was the need to identify available grasses and legumes across the nation for cultivation on small and large scales; usage of agro-industrial wastes, concentrates; strategic feed formulation as total mixed ration;  generate resources conservation system,
According to the stakeholders, local breeding for dairy in Nigeria is the only sustainable approach for the enterprise. This, they added, required deliberate capacity development of stakeholders; advocacy and enlightenment; leveraging on applicable technologies such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer; researchers’ close relationship with the field for allied researches; proper coordination of breeding improvement programme by relevant agencies of government; well-articulated funding; effective characterisation of dairy breeds; classification of the sector along the dairy value chain among others.

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