To support the development of local milk production in Nigeria, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Federal government. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Prof. Sheik Abdulla, said “by the initiative Freisland Campicina WAMCO will, locally source milk producers and also provide technical assistance to the extension workers by assisting in introducing best practice technologies for milk production, collection, processing, transportation, packaging and marketing to farmers to ensure safety and sustainable value of milk at profitable cost to farmers.”
He stated that the Public-Private-Partnership would among other things add value to local product, adding that the MoU would help promote the development of local dairy industry in the country and also help facilitate the use of locally produced milk by indigenous companies.
Currently, the company buys fresh milk from Shonga Dairies in Kwara State and Fulani farmers in various communities in Oyo State for part of its production. Furthermore, under a Public-Private-Partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, WAMCO has also set up several projects, which over a few years, should yield a significant part of its raw milk needs, and reduce its reliance on imported milk powder. This will go a long way in increasing the company’s local content.
According to the company’s Managing Director of the company, Mr. Bob Steetskamp, the project is geared towards sourcing raw milk from Nigerian farmers to produce Peak milk and other brand of the company.
The partnership between WAMCO and the federal government became necessary as a result of the huge success recorded from the Dairy Development Programme launched at the Shonga Dairies, Kwara State, in 2010. WAMCO’s MD hinted that the dairy farm had been able to produce 5000 liters of milk since the inception of the project in the farm.
Steetskamp also said that WAMCO will continue to focus on market performance and consumer satisfaction, the strengthening of its brands and provision of healthy, natural nutrition to Nigerians, adding that the company foresees a better performance at the end of the 2012 financial year.
He added that the private-public partnership would, among others, trigger growth in the Agro-economic sector of the country. The first phase of the project would start from Iseyin in Oyo State and later Gwagalada in Abuja. The company would be working mostly with small-scale farmers as a result of the low production of dairy product in the country. However, the success of the programme would determine its extension to other state of the federation, Steetskamp revealed.
According to him, “as partners, we will work together to improve dairy farming by strengthening the capacity of farmers, increase the market share of locally produced milk, as well as, create employable labour and expand investment oppourtunities.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Rabe Mani , a Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) representative, present at the event praised the initiative as a welcome development in the growth of milk production in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s milk production has been stagnant for the past four years with a fluctuating rate of 468,000 to 469,000, he noted.
Ascribing the low rate of milk production in the country to the animal breed, Mani called on the minister of Agriculture to look into the improvement of breed in the country adding that there was need to strengthen the development of dairy industry.