NIGERIA – Arla Foods, maker of Dano milk and one of the world’s largest dairy cooperatives, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to provide enabling organisational structure and trainings that will facilitate the development of the dairy industry in Nigeria.

The MoU was signed recently in Abuja in a move that reaffirms Arla’s commitment to support the Nigerian government with the development of the local dairy sector in Nigeria.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said the MoU was a signage for Nigeria’s critical need to develop the dairy industry, not just as a business but as a development programme.

The Minister welcomed objectives of the MoU, including support from European Union (EU), knowledge-transfer, partnership with farmers and technical training programmes.

“What you are doing excites me a lot because Nigeria is at a critical time in its development. The population is growing extremely fast. We have a large number of children malnourished, almost 27 per cent.

We have a school feeding programme and dream of a day when every child should have sufficient meals per day. From the cattle breeding improvement programme, we are looking at a near future when a family in the city outskirts can keep poverty away with three or four cows.

The Nigerian dairy market is huge, with about 450 million consumers by 2050. Nigeria also has its eyes on feeding West, North and Central Africa. As soon as this MoU is signed, we expect you to go on with the joint ventures and partnerships,” the honourable minister said.

Speaking in the same vein, the Regional Office Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, Arla Foods, Mr. Steen Hadsbjerg, said the partnership will open a new window of job opportunities, increase in wealth creation for farmers and expansion of investment opportunities.

“Nigeria is one of the biggest markets for dairy products in Africa. For Arla to succeed in Africa, we must succeed in Nigeria. The population is growing, and people are young, ambitious and increasingly well-educated.

By consummating this partnership today, we have taken another step to ensure that Arla Foods not only become a household name in Nigeria, but also work to create employment, improve return on investment for farmers and expand investment opportunities,” he said.

Hadsbjerg also revealed that the partnership with the Federal Ministry Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) will promote and strengthen the emergence of a dairy cooperative system in Nigeria thereby giving farmers a strong voice and ensuring efficient distribution of knowledge.

The MoU empowers Arla Foods to create incentives for nomadic herders to develop cooperative dairy businesses through the provision of workable organisational structure and training, as well as promoting and strengthening dairy cooperatives in Nigeria by improving their capabilities to be competitive on price and quality as well as gaining a larger share of the local dairy market.

Other areas of improvement the partnership will focus upon include capabilities for qualitative product development and go-to-market abilities.

Also, the partnership agreement see Arla work with partners in Nigeria to develop a sustainable dairy sector; use competencies on the cooperative model and farm management to increase yield per cow, support increased yield per cow through facilitation of genetic improvement program and feed improvement program, provide technical training to 200 professionals and smallholder dairy farmers every year to improve milk quality and product quality and partner with Ministry of Agriculture and farmers’ organisations and other relevant stakeholders to promote and strengthen the dairy cooperative system in Nigeria thereby giving farmers a strong voice and ensuring efficient distribution of knowledge.

September 2, 2016;