[Nigeria] Arla Foods inaugurates state-of-the-art Dairy Farm in Kaduna
The farm opening underpins European dairy cooperative Arla Foods’ long-term commitment in Nigeria. Training sessions for local farmers and industry-wide knowledge sharing will accelerate dairy development in the country projected soon to be one of the most populated in the world.
Kaduna State, Nigeria: Officials from state and federal government, members of the local farming community, business partners and Arla representatives were present at the official inauguration event taking place yesterday.
Nigeria has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world and it is projected to nearly double by 2050, from approx. 220m to 400m. This will put enormous pressure on food systems to deliver affordable, nutritious food and with local dairy production only covering about 40 per cent of the current demand of 1.45bn litres of milk per year, the need to develop the local dairy industry is pivotal.
“With some expecting it to become the second-most populous country in the world, and Lagos the most populous city in the world, by 2100, all eyes are on Nigeria at the moment. While there of course is a business opportunity for us, our activities in Nigeria are very much focused on sharing our agricultural and production expertise in collaboration with local partners to secure access to affordable nutrition for the growing population. And the farm very clearly solidifies of our continued commitment to this”, says Executive Vice President and head of Arla’s International business, Simon Stevens.
The farm is the third pillar of Arla’s commitment to the development of the dairy sector in Nigeria and it both builds on top of and taps into the targets of the other two. The first step was The Milky Way Partnership, a public-private partnership, which Arla established in 2016.
Together with NGO Care Denmark, The Danish Agricultural and Food Council, Seges Innovation, Nigerian pastoralist organisation Coret and NGO Milk Value Chain Foundation, the aim was to improve livelihoods and efficiency for local smallholder farmers by capacity building and providing access to basic primary materials. More than 4,200 local farmers took part in the in the training sessions and they have seen an increase in their income of 200 per cent.
Arla further expanded on its commitment to develop a sustainable local dairy sector in Nigeria in 2019 by entering into a partnership with the Kaduna State government to establish the Damau Household Milk Farm, a 8,200-hectare ranch project which aims to settle 1000 nomadic dairy farmer households, improve their farming practices and provide a route-to-market for their milk, which goes into production of local dairy products.
“It doesn’t make sense to improve efficiency or talk about better livelihoods if there isn’t a mature market in place to off-take the milk. That’s why we are working within both areas simultaneously, and the farm actually enables us to accelerate on both agendas, which is why I am very pleased to take part in the official inauguration”, says Simon Stevens.
The milk sourced from the local smallholder farm clusters, from the Damau farm and from the Arla farm will be pooled and used for production of local dairy products at one of the two sites Arla is operating in Nigeria. Together, the milk streams form an economically viable business foundation essential to the ongoing development work.
Besides housing 216 dairy cows, with the capacity to expand to 750 cows, the farm’s main purpose is to facilitate training sessions for local farmers, students and associates at agricultural universities, veterinary students and other relevant groups.
The main focus will be on farm management and animal welfare and the training sessions will revolve around Arla’s Big5; five essential and effective levers to reduce climate footprint on farm confirmed by one of the world’s largest sets of externally verified data on dairy farming from Arla’s Climate Check programme. The Big5 covers feed efficiency, protein efficiency, animal robustness, fertilizer management and land use management.
“By sharing the expert knowledge our farmer owners have accumulated over decades, and supporting it with scientific data, we can make a real difference for the local farmers. Improving animal management has a direct impact on milk yield and quality which leads to better livelihoods for dairy farmers, as long as there is an off-take operation in place, which we are also contributing to”, says Anna Månsson, Head of West Africa at Arla Foods.
The dairy farming expertise of the Northern European farmer owners is welcomed by local partners ready to apply the knowledge to drive the dairy industry forward.
“Applying best practices through backwards integration is the key to achieving the ambitions we have for the Nigerian dairy industry. With the knowledge that Arla brings to the table, now anchored in this impressive new farm, we take another big step in creating a more efficient and economically sustainable environment for dairy farming in Nigeria,” says Winnie Lai-Solarin, Director at the Department of Animal Husbandry Services with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Arla Foods in Nigeria operates as TG Arla, a production joint-venture between Arla Foods and Tolaram Group, with nationwide distribution by Multipro Consumer Products Limited (MCPL). TG Arla employs more than 500 people across four locations in Nigeria with its headquarters located in Lagos. The main brand is Arla® DANO which has been a popular choice in Nigeria since the 1980’s.