Milk, as well as other dairy products are thought to have the probability of improving the livelihoods and nutrition of millions of poor and less privileged people globally. This is according to a new publication that was launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. According to the book, Milk and Dairy Products in Human Nutrition, governments are encouraged to invest more on programs that increase the availability of dairy products to the poor. Such programs should also help such families to produce milk and even make some of the dairy products at home.
Senior Nutrition Officer at FAO, Ellen Muehlhoff said that milk and dairy products are part of a balanced diet and are essential sources of protein, dietary energy and fat. Dairy products also have high levels of micronutrients vital for fighting against malnutrition. Poor people’s diets are mostly cereal-based or starch-based. Diversity is lacking and therefore incorporating dairy products is a way of achieving this variety. Muehlhoff underlined that a healthy diet comprises of a combination of foods. In addition, milk and dairy products are just among the many sources of vital nutrients. While animal milk is not very good to infants less than a year old, they serve as effective sources of crucial nutrients that help to improve growth for children.
Regardless of the benefits of milk and dairy products, a major barrier or limitation worth noting is their cost. Such products are still costly for poor families. It is expected that consumption of dairy would increase by 25 percent in developing countries by the year 2025. This would be because of the growth in population and increasing annual incomes. There is a high likelihood that the most vulnerable families may still not afford dairy products.