Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has restated the Federal Government’s commitment to support projects that would enhance Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in dairy production.
Osinbajo made the assertion on Thursday during the Virtual Launch and Unveiling of the Centre for Nigerian Dutch Dairy Development (CNDDD).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Dutch dairy company, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria PLC, in partnership with key stakeholders, developed the CNDDD.
CNDDD is an expertise Centre for dairy development and would focus on improving dairy productivity and sustainability throughout the entire dairy value chain in Nigeria, based on Dutch expertise gained for more than a century.
Osinbajo, represented at the virtual launch by Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, noted that the project would enhance Nigeria’s capacity in dairy production, boost backward integration programme and industrialisation.
According to him, diversification of the economy is a major objective of the present administration, particularly on products that Nigeria has a comparative advantage in.
He said that available indicators identified the dairy sub-sector as one of the areas where Nigeria has the comparative advantage that could be leveraged upon.
Osinbajo noted that Nigeria’s annual imports of milk and other dairy products was currently estimated at $1.3 billion, adding that the CNDDD initiative would assist reverse the import bill and reposition the country as a foremost dairy producer globally.
He added that it would create opportunities and employment that would assist in the actualisation of the government’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians from poverty.
Also, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, noted that Nigeria was blessed with resources that would enhance dairy production.
Nanono expressed optimism that with the CNDDD initiative, Nigeria would soon end milk importation.
Commenting, Mr Ben Langat, Managing Director, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria PLC, said that the Centre would foster cooperation among dairy stakeholders.
Langat said that the CNDDD would be the expert research and training institute for dairy development in Nigeria, and would focus on breeding, farm and feed management, quality control, and productivity.
He noted that the Nigerian dairy sector presently faces major challenges, adding that the company’s partnership with the Federal Government would transform the sector from its current subsistence phase to a commercial quality-focused model.
Langat added that growth in the dairy industry was essential, considering the country’s increasing population and need for nutrition.
The Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Harry van Dijk, said that the centre would boost economic growth, job creation and bilateral relationship between Nigeria and Netherlands.
NAN reports that the Centre is domiciled within the University of Abuja.
Governors present at the virtual launch included Sanni Bello of Niger; Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi; Dapo Abiodun of Ogun; AbdulRahman AbdulRazak of Kwara and Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.