By Stanley Onyekwere
As part of the activities to celebrate this year’s World Milk Day, the FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS) engaged Fulani Pastorists and women on sustainable dairy processing, in Paikon-Kore Grazing Reserve, Gwagwalada Area Council of Abuja.
Our correspondent reports that the ARDS marked this year’s edition with the theme: Sustainability in the Dairy Sector organised in partnership with Nestlé Foods Nigeria PLC, one of the major partners of the FCTA, in the development of grazing reserves in the Territory.
Speaking at the event yesterday, FCT Acting ARDS Secretary, Ibe Chukwuemeka, explained that the Day is celebrated with activities aimed at not only creating awareness on the importance of consumption of milk and dairy products, but the economic value associated with it as a business.
Chukwuemeka, who was represented by Director of Administration, Mrs. Ann Ijeoma
noted that since 2001 when the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) institutionalised the day as annual event in its Calendar, countries around the world have consistently marked it with series of activities.
“The Administration no doubt recognises the important role that Livestock subsector play in its desire to attain food security, create jobs and improve the general well-being of residents.
“To this end, the Administration has through the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS) continued to put in place the necessary infrastructure towards enhancing the day-to-day activities in the four grazing reserves across the FCT.
“In line with the theme of this year’s celebration “sustainability in the Dairy Sector”, the Administration has been in collaboration with reputable investors such as Nestlé Foods PLC, in upgrading activities at the grazing reserves.
“The ARDS has been able to organise Dairy farmers in the FCT into various cooperative groups to enable them easily access support. This has equally enabled the Secretariat enlighten and train the farmers them on hygienic milk handling practices to help improve the quality and market value of their products”, the ARDS stressed.
Similarly, the Acting Director, Animal Husbandry of the Secretariat, Evangelist Ngozi Mbaka, said the Secretariat would continue to provide the needed infrastructure in the grazing reserves as well as empower livestock farmers in all the six Area Councils.
Mbaka noted that the theme of this year’s celebration, is apt as it’s in tandem with the policies of the Administration of sustaining the tempo of investment and support in the sector towards improving the livelihood of not only livestock farmers but the society at large.
The event attracted most of the pastoralists within and outside the Paikon-Kore in Gwagwalada Area Council, who delivered their goodwill messages.
In his goodwill message, representative of Nestlé Foods Nigeria, Olusoji Apampa used the occasion to testing it’s mik cooling tank at the grazing reserves.
Apampa, who is also Chief Executive Officer of CBI Innovations Ltd, urged the Fulani community to take full advantage of the facility in order to ensure that milk keep flowing into the world.
Not left out, Madaki of Ardo Paikon-Kore, Umar A. Umar, described the initiative as a welcome development, as it will help advance sustainability of milk production.
Umar, who thanked the stakeholders in the Territory for engaging the locals in the celebration of the World Milk Day assured them of effective collaboration between the community and others in the milk industry.