Efforts being made by Friesland Campina of the Netherlands to develop the dairy industry, in partnership with the federal government, is a model step.

Dazed by the severe impact of revenue loss due to depressed crude oil prices, the Nigerian economy at the moment is practically groping.

The good news however is that massive potential exists in various sectors of the economy including; solid minerals, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, healthcare, technology among several others that can transform the nation’s fortunes.

The sectors mentioned also have various untapped sub sectors embedded within them.

Agriculture for example comprises multi-billion dollar sub sectors such as aquaculture, rice, wheat, tree crops, fruits and vegetables, dairy each valued in hundreds of billions of dollars globally.

As for the dairy industry, which entails cattle raring for milk production and all the associated manufacturing processes from the farms to the tables, it is projected to hit a value of $442 billion by the year 2019. As at 2014, the dairy industry was worth $ 336 billion

In Nigeria’s quest for a diversified economy, one question the economic managers must ask themselves is what share of the $442 billion dairy business, for instance, can the massive West African nation capture by 2019.

At the moment, the value of Nigeria’s dairy business is about $1.5 billion, with over 90 per cent of that amount accounting for importation of milk, packaging it and distributing to consumers.

For the larger part, Nigeria is not involved in the more productive aspects of the industry which amount to the $442billion.

The nation’s cattle raring is at best still at primitive levels with the herders mostly nomadic and their cattle producing milk at rates over 20 times lower than their average counterparts in other countries like Denmark and the Netherlands.

However, the fortunes of the Nigerian dairy industry seem to be on the verge of transmogrification considering the level of interest now being shown by world leading dairy experts and investors, FrieslandCampina.

The global Chief Executive Officer of Royal FrieslandCampina, which is represented in Nigeria as FrieslandCampina WAMCO, Roelof Joosten, two weeks ago, paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, indicating a renewed interest of one of the worlds largest dairy firms in Nigeria.

The Netherlands-based company is looking at taking diary business in Nigeria beyond just importing and trading to full scale integrated production and distribution.

Joosten’s discussion with the President centred around Royal FrieslandCampina’ s expertise as the lead partner to develop Nigerian dairy sector, importance of Nigeria to Royal FrieslandCampina and FrieslandCampina WAMCO’s commitment to tackling the country’s challenges through the unique initiative of its sustainable Dairy Development Program model (DDP program)- currently the only dairy manufacturer sourcing part of its raw milk requirement locally for production.

Buhari, while addressing Royal FrieslandCampina executives said the goal of his administration was to develop the nation’s assets on a permanent basis. He decried the failure of past administrations to develop the nation’s asset, reiterating his determination to address the deficit.

He pointed out that the culture of waste foisted on Nigeria was due to lack of means of preservation of agricultural products.

According to him, a situation where cattle farmers throw away milk from their animals, because there is no means of preserving and processing the product is unfortunate.

“We have failed to develop our assets on a permanent basis. This, we are determined to work on,” the President promised.

He urged Friesland Campina, in its collaboration with Nigeria, to educate cattle farmers that “quality matters more than quantity,” and help them organise into cooperatives for better business.

On his part, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, who was also at the event, promised that herdsmen would soon be organised into ranches.

“They will be organised with special grasses and water, which would give better yield, and make the animals healthier,” he said.

He added that special flasks, which could preserve raw milk for up to six hours, would soon be made available, enabling cattle farmers to get the product to dairies in good quality.

Giving his remarks, Joosten said that Friesland Campina was a cooperative owned by 19,000 farmers, and was 145 years old.

It began business in Nigeria in 1973 as Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria and wants to partner with the federal government to build a healthier populace through better nutrition, collaborate in the School Feeding Programme, and promote dairy development in Nigeria.

It has also been providing nutrition support for Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria’s northeast, a region ravaged by over six years of insurgency.

Also on the delegation of the Global CEO was the Managing Director of Friesland Campina WAMCO, Mr Rahul Colaco.

Supporting IDPs

FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc during the period also made a product donation to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) living in Kuchingoro camp, Abuja. This is to increase the nutritional status of about 250 vulnerable children living in the camp.

The donation was made by Joosten, during the two-day official trip to Nigeria where he was accompanied by Jacobs Ajekigbe, Chairman Board of Directors, Rahul Colaco, Managing Director and Ore Famurewa, Corporate Affairs Director.

Following this donation, each child will receive a daily provision of Peak Evaporated milk in 30g sachet as part of the Recommended Dietary Allowance. The supply is planned for a period of 10 weeks, from August 10 to October 26, 2016.

FrieslandCampina WAMCO made this donation to the camp through the Nigerian Red Cross Society who will be fully accountable for the distribution of the products and also deliver the project with utmost professionalism.

Dairy Development Programme

Meanwhile, FrieslandCampina WAMCO has made significant progress in the development of local milk production capacity in Nigeria with the engagement and training of over 1,600 (920 women and 726 men) Fulani milk producers and potential small holder dairy farmers in Oyo State.

The company continued to invest in the maintenance of its facilities: the Milk bulking Centre in Iseyin and four functional Milk Collection Centres (MCCs) in Fasola, Alaga, Maya and Iseyin. The company has in its fleet, five insulated milk trucks of varying capacities for the conveyance of raw milk from the Milk Collection Centres to the Milk Bulking Centres en route the factory in Lagos. Moreover, the company provided boreholes (mostly solar powered) to twelve communities in DDP locations and all the milk suppliers were given aluminium milk cans of 30,000L capacity to improve the quality of raw milk being supplied.

Working in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and International Fertilizer Development Centre- Towards Sustainable Clusters in Agribusiness through Learning in Entrepreneurship (IFDC-2SCALE), the milk producers were immensely supported through consistent trainings and demonstrations to upgrade their milk supply in terms of quantity and more importantly quality. Thus improved pasture cultivation demonstrations of improved pasture seeds from South Africa was carried out in four learning plots in DDP locations which thrived well while we plan to roll out these to other locations in the coming years while we partner with National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) to develop propagation of local pasture in Nigeria. We also demonstrated and trained farmers in the use of crop residues and fortification as sources of good feed to cattle, feed preservation through silage and hay making was also demonstrated, crossbreeding through artificial insemination was carried out as well as an instructive and continuous Quality Improvement Programme (QIP) put in place. The total volume for the year was slightly over three million litres while one of the most important quality parameters, total plate count was improved to about 800,000cfu/ml. The DDP team also worked in partnership with Nigerian Institute of Trypanosomosis Research (NITRE) to control the prevalence of tsetse flies and therefore reduced trypanosomosis disease infections in the locations where DDP is active.

The Fulani women in collaboration with IFDC-2SCALE were engaged in vocational trainings and also linked up with WAMCO sales team to retail peak and three crowns products serving as additional sources of income to them.

Partnership with FG

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) FrieslandCampina WAMCO have recently also renewed their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on dairy development in the country. Ogbeh and Colaco, signed the MOU at a ceremony held in Abuja

FrieslandCampina WAMCO is the first dairy company in Nigeria to sign such a pact with the federal government. The minister and his team had visited the Netherlands in May 2016 to see how the Dutch dairy chain is organised from “grass to glass” and how FrieslandCampina guarantees the safety and quality of her products.

In a statement issued by the company’s Corporate Affairs Director, Ore Famurewa, explained “This is an enormously positive development for FrieslandCampina WAMCO and we see our partnership with the Federal Government as key in rolling out new dairy programmes designed to safeguard food and nutrient security in Nigeria.

“Five years ago in 2011, we signed an MoU with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to improve dairy farming and we made good progress in areas such as networking of milk suppliers, training of dairy farmers and improving the quality of raw milk. Today, we are restating our mutual commitment to developing the Nigerian local dairy industry by creating a sustainable value chain that contributes to food security, provides jobs and prosperity” she said.

Famurewa confirmed the company’s decision to invest N3 billion in its small holder dairy farmer programme in Nigeria and has also agreed to provide support to a FMARD subsidiary, Milcopal, in Kaduna.

The Dairy Development Programme (DDP) is an initiative of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria PLC. It is a private-public partnership that will trigger growth in the agro-economic sector of Nigeria. The DDP is significant to the history of FrieslandCampina WAMCO “and we believe it will enhance dairy farming in Nigeria as it affirms our unwavering commitment to the provision of quality dairy nutrition to Nigerians” Famurewa said.