Farmer-owned dairy co-operative Arla Foods will build a state-of-the-art commercial dairy farm in Northern Nigeria where it will also train and support up to 1,000 local dairy farmers as part of its long term commitment to public-private partnerships that support the development of the Nigerian dairy sector as part of the country’s efforts to increase local food production.
Located in Kaduna State, the 200-hectare farm, scheduled to open in 2022, will have housing for 400 dairy cows, modern milking parlours and technology, grasslands and living facilities for 25 employees. The facilities and expertise provided by Arla will ensure a first-class opportunity to train local dairy farmers to improve milk yields and quality, animal welfare and farm profitability, contributing to the country’s aims to develop local milk production.
In addition to providing training and support, the farm will also showcase modern commercial farming in Nigeria. Over time, the farm is expected to produce over 10 tonnes of milk per day which will be processed by Arla’s dairy plant in Kaduna State, to supply locally produced dairy products to Nigerian consumers.
Growing demand for dairy
Nigeria is among the fastest-growing nations in the world. Its population is set to reach close to 400 million people by 2050 and there is already growing consumer demand for affordable dairy nutrition in the country. The Nigerian dairy sector is, however, currently only able to supply less than 10 per cent of the country’s demand for dairy products, a gap that is expected to grow in line with the growth of its population.
“There is a great need for nutritious food and dairy products to satisfy the growing demand from Nigeria’s fast-growing population. This requires a complementary approach where imported food is crucial to ensure food security while also supporting the government’s long-term agricultural transformation plan to build a sustainable dairy sector in Nigeria. Our new dairy farm is our next step in our commitment to Nigeria,” says Executive Vice President and Head of Arla Foods International Simon Stevens.
Arla’s long-term commitment to Nigeria
Since 2017, Arla has been the lead business partner in a partnership to develop a sustainable dairy value chain in Nigeria together with The Danish Agricultural and Food Council, Danish Agricultural Knowledge Center Seges, Care Denmark, the Nigerian pastoralist organization CORET, and the dairy farm cooperative MILCOPAL. The Milky Way Partnership programme is supported by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In 2019 Arla scaled up its commitment to developing a sustainable dairy sector in Nigeria with a new public-private partnership with the Kaduna State government. It is the first of its size and offers 1,000 nomadic dairy farmers permanent farmlands. Arla is the commercial partner that will purchase, collect, process and bring the local milk to market.
More recently, last year, working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through ALDDN (Advanced Local Dairy Development Nigeria) with SAHEL Consulting, Arla is also helping to support more than 600 small scale households to create better livelihoods by developing a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable dairy market in West Africa.
Arla Foods Chairman, Jan Toft Nørgaard says:
“I am very proud of our collaborations to support the sustainable development of the Nigerian dairy sector and excited about what our new state-of-the-art farm will achieve. To collaborate with farmers in many parts of the world, sharing knowledge and supporting local dairy industries is a key part of our cooperative mindset and our farm in Nigeria is the next important step.
When it is built, we can support local dairy farmers to create better livelihoods and it is a key enabler to growing dairy and food production on a local scale.”
The dairy farm will be led by Arla’s farm management expert Snorri Sigurdsson, who will also head up the training agenda.