The potentials of Nigeria’s Dairy industry have been identified as a key factor in the country’s quest to grow and develop a hugely sustainable industry. This was the position of a high profile team from leading dairy firm and makers of Dano Milk, Arla Foods, during a recent visit to the country.
The Arla team was in the country for what would be its first round of field visits conducted to meet with local dairy farmers in Nigeria and to also attend a two-day Africa Business Roundtable on Agriculture organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Director, Trade Policy for Arla Foods, Kasper Thormod Nielson, disclosed this while speaking at the just concluded two-day retreat on Agriculture organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Abuja.
Kasper, who revealed that he was in Nigeria with other senior executives of Arla Foods from Denmark on a field study, commended Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, for the commitment to developing the Nigerian diary sector.
His words: “We are seeing true potentials. We believe in cooperative growth. Our best results have always been achieved together with others. Therefore, we are committing to work with the Minister, his strong team as well as the local partners to secure the development of a sustainable Nigeria dairy sector”.
On the purpose of the field visit embarked upon by his team in Nigeria, Kasper said it was with the view to addressing some specific challenges in the Nigeria dairy sector, and assured of the company’s commitment to partnering with Nigeria on developing the country’s dairy sector.
“There are many challenges from what we have seen ranging from access to water, access to land, access to feeds, health status, hygiene, and breeds amongst others. But what we are primarily looking for is the right mindset. The mindset to cooperate; the mindset to create a business, the mindset to create common and sustainable growth, the mindset for discovering real potentials, the mindset for partnerships and we are truly seeing the potentials and looking forward to following up on our findings in the nearest future”, he said.
It would be recalled that in February Arla made an expression of interest to partner with the Federal Government to develop a sustainable dairy sector. This was followed with a bilateral visit of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to Denmark, in May. The firm is expected to present a progress report on its activities including the farm-focused field visit. This is to be followed with a second scheduled field visit and roundtable between September and October.
In his speech, Nigeria’s Minister for Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, commended Arla Foods for its commitment to helping Nigeria develop its local dairy sector, just as he expressed confidence in the potentials of the sector to serve the dairy needs of the country despite the current challenges it faces.
According to him, “if Saudi Arabia can do milk and have the largest ranch in the world, there is nothing stopping us. So why spend 1.8billion dollars importing milk when we can produce locally? We have to be self-sufficient in milk production because 30% of our children have nutrient deficiencies. Milk is good. It is probably the richest concentration of nutrients you can find. Imagine if every child gets a pint of milk daily under our school feeding programme.”
Arla Foods was founded about 130 years through a Cooperative ownership structure with a vision to create the future of dairy bringing health and inspiration to the world as well as a mission to secure the highest possible value for farmers’ milk, while creating opportunity for their growth. It ranks among the five largest dairy firms in the world. Under its Nigeria operation, the firm has around 200 employees, most of them working at its packaging facility in Lagos.