NIGERIA – Arla Foods, one of the largest dairy cooperatives in Europe, has announced plans to build a new commercial dairy farm in Northern Nigeria, in an effort to support local milk production in the country. 

Located in Kaduna State, the 200-hectare farm will house 400 dairy cows, modern milking parlours and technology, grassland, as well as living facilities for 25 employees.

The dairy cooperative has said it will train and support up to 1,000 local dairy farmers to improve milk yields and quality, animal welfare and farm profitability.

The investment forms part of Arla’s long-term commitment to increase local food production in Nigeria. The dairy giant did not disclose the value of its investment in the farm.

According to the Danish dairy company, Nigeria’s population is set to reach nearly 400 million people by 2050; yet the country’s dairy sector is currently only able to supply less than 10% of its demand – a gap that is expected to grow in line with the growth of its population.

The farm – scheduled to open in 2022 – is eventually expected to produce over 10 tonnes (10,000 litres) of milk per day, which will then be processed by Arla’s dairy plant in Kaduna State to supply locally produced dairy products to Nigerian consumers.

The new farm is expected to produce over 10 tonnes of milk per day to be processed by Arla’s dairy plant in Kaduna State

Executive Vice President and head of Arla Foods International, Simon Stevens, said, “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.”

Since 2017, Arla has been the lead business partner in The Milky Way Initiative, which was formed in collaboration with the Danish Agricultural and Food Council, Danish Agricultural Knowledge Center Seges, Care Denmark, the Nigerian pastoralist organisation Coret, and the dairy farm cooperative MILCOPAL in order to develop a sustainable dairy value chain in Nigeria.

In 2019, Arla entered a new public-private partnership with Kaduna State government to offer 1,000 nomadic dairy farmers permanent farmland.

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, said, “To collaborate with farmers in many parts of 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.

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