The Federal Government, Kaduna State Government and farmer-owned Arla Foods have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to ensure development of a long-term sustainable dairy industry and local dairy sector in Nigeria by helping 1,000 small scale farmers create better livelihoods.
According to a statement by the Kaduna State Government on Monday, while the State and the Federal Government will offer 1,000 nomadic dairy farmers permanent farm lands with access to water, Arla will be the commercial partner that will purchase, collect, process and bring the local milk to market.
The government said the new public-private partnership entered is the first of its size in Nigeria and is an important step in developing the local dairy sector.
The State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai welcomed the project with Arla as a different and sustainable vision for the development of the livestock industry in Nigeria.
“We are very pleased to collaborate with Arla Foods to grow and further improve our nation’s dairy industry.
With our different competencies, together we can empower local farmers and promote a market-driven sustainable dairy development in Nigeria,” El-Rufai said.
“Kaduna State and the Federal Government are committed to improving the structural conditions for the nomadic farmers. Instead of continuously moving in search of grazing areas and water, land will be set up for the farmers to permanently base themselves and have opportunities to expand their farms.
“Securing the infrastructure such as roads, power and water, which are necessary to process and bring the milk to market, is also part of the public commitment.
“The project will primarily be funded by loans provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria and guaranteed by the local state. As the commercial partner, Arla will invest in establishing milk collection centres. These will be pivotal to Arla’s role as a processor of the milk produced by the farmers,” the statement stated.
The government said this new public-private partnership builds on the success of a collaboration initiated in 2016 with Kaduna State, the Federal Government, Arla and a number of NGOs including Care, the Danish Agricultural and Food Council, the local dairy cooperative MILCOPAL and the Nigerian pastoralist organisation ,Coret.
“The Nigerian dairy industry is currently able to supply less than 10 per cent of the country’s current demand for dairy products, a gap that is increasing exponentially as the population grows over the next decades.
“Most Nigerian dairy farmers are small scale and most milk collection consists of milking the cows by hand into small open bowls or buckets. If the milk is not consumed in the farmer’s own household, it usually doesn’t travel farther than to the nearest town market. Preventing the milk from spoiling in the heat is a big challenge.
“Arla will contribute with experience from its pan-European supply chain and its cooperative farmer culture to deliver commercial success with the farmers in Nigeria,” the statement added.
Speaking on the new partnership, Vice President, Sub-Saharan Africa Region for Arla Foods, Steen Hadsbjerg, said the initiative would help grow local farmers’ incomes and further help to build the country’s dairy sector.
“Bringing local milk into our product portfolio is part of the way we believe that our business will be long-term successful in Nigeria.
“We will only succeed in growing local farmers’ incomes, building Nigeria’s dairy sector and achieving Arla’s ambitions in West Africa if the project and its activities are commercially viable.
“This is a great example of business and development going hand in hand to ensure long-term sustainable solutions that are built to last,” Hadsbjerg noted.