Arla Foods continues to make significant strides in its commitment to develop the local dairy sector through backward integration, with the implementation of its very own commercial 400-cow Arla Dairy Farm in Damau, Kaduna State. This is aligned and in conjunction with the Central Bank’s policy and efforts to reduce importation of dairy products and encourage backward integration in agriculture.
This is an important leg of the dairy company’s Local Dairy Development initiative which kicked off in earnest, starting with a partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria – through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with Arla Foods , with the objectives to empower local livestock breeders, and to promote a market- driven sustainable dairy development project in Nigeria.
Arla Foods has since partnered with the Kaduna State Government and MILCOPAL Nigeria Limited, a dairy farmer cooperative in Kaduna State, and commenced offtake of milk from over 400 local pastoralist farmers and counting, renovated and operationalized the Kaduna State dairy, and commenced production and sale of local dairy products for the Nigeria market.
“Developing the local dairy sector is an important part of our business in Nigeria and a central part of Arla’s Global Sustainability strategy. We will only be successful in the long term if we work together with local farmers to create a viable and sustainable dairy business. We are committed to growing responsibly in Nigeria and we have reached important milestone in establishing our commercial Arla Farm in Damau. It is our ambition to further increase offtake of locally produced milk from pastoralists” – Peder Pedersen, Managing Director – Arla Foods Nigeria
The Arla Farm aims to provide a showcase for a fully functioning and sustainable commercial farm in Kaduna. This is in addition to the partnership with Kaduna State on Damau Household Milk Farm to establish a settlement project on 9000Ha land where Arla will enable milk collection, and provide services with regards to feed establishment and management, irrigation management, artificial insemination, crossbreeding and initial handling and quarantining of cattle.
The commercial dairy farm currently sits on land acquired in Damau, Kaduna with planned feed and grassland development of locally-sourced Bracharia and Napier grass seeds. Land clearing and fencing has been completed and grassland establishment is currently in progress.
Irrigation facilities will be set up for forage production using raingun system for the Arla Farm, and 400 crossbred milking cows will be imported to ensure high yield and quality of milk for processing. Lastly, milk collection equipment for sustainable milking will also be established on the farm.
Arla Foods prides itself in being a reliable investor and developer of the Nigeria local dairy market. A fundamental requirement is that market framework conditions are in place, access to the Nigerian market is sustainable, fair and predictable, and that access secures a viable business environment for companies that are investing in the dairy industry in Nigeria.
In his statement, Pedersen also thanked the Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Kaduna State Government for the cooperation so far, as success of the local dairy development and backward integration relies on the joint partnership and support.
Arla Foods is a dairy company with around 9700 farmer owners in seven EU countries. Our philosophy of producing natural, healthy and high quality dairy products dates back to the 1880s when dairy farmers in Denmark and Sweden joined forces with one common goal: To produce and provide the best dairy products.
Photo: One of Arla’s milk collection centres at a farmer cluster in Kaduna state.