NIGERIA – Four dairy products manufacturers in Nigeria have commenced local production of milk under the livestock development initiative by the Niger state in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The initiative is in line with the CBN policy to discourage the importation of dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese and other milk derivatives of which the country spends about $1.5 billion annually.

The four companies targeted under the initiative are Friesland Campina WAMCO, Neon Agro, Chi Limited and Irish Dairy who have expressed interest to invest in Bobi Grazing Reserve in Niger State reports premium times.

Bobi Grazing Reserve is located in Mariga Local Government Area and is part of 26 Grazing Reserves gazette under a livestock development initiative.

The reserve has a land area of 31,000 hectares, with about 700 families and 300,000 heads of cattle resident there for the pilot project.

According to CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, FrieslandCampina WAMCO and Neon Agro have agreed to acquire 10,000 hectares of land each, while Chi Limited and Irish Dairy are to develop 4,000 hectares each for their local milk production project.

The remaining 3,000 hectares will be retained by the state government for its development programmes.

FrieslandCampina WAMCO has already cleared a total land area of 695 hectares, with 190 hectares already cultivated with pastures for the livestock.

In addition to that, the company has completed a hydroponic centre and solar powered borehole, while equipment for its Milk Collection Centre is awaiting installation.

Similarly, Chi Limited has signed contracts for the clearing and planting of pasture on its allocated 4,000 hectares of land.

The CBN said it has contacted the relevant government departments to fast-track land acquisition and issuance of title documents.

“For these investments to bear fruits, the support of the state governments is needed through land, and other infrastructural amenities,” the CBN governor said.

Other local and international investors have also expressed interest in developing the dairy industry in the country.

Arla, Denmark-based dairy firm have existing projects in Damau, Amana, NAPRI Shika and Kagarko in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria and is currently refurbishing a milk processing plant and will soon commence milk off-take from 600 farmers in Kagarko.

Promasidor Nigeria Limited has signed a partnership agreement with Ekiti State Government, South West Nigeria to drive its backward integration initiative through the state-owned Ikun Dairy Farm.

The agreement will enable Promasidor utilise the facilities at Ikun Dairy Farm to improve local sourcing of materials for production of its dairy products, which include Cowbell and Loya.

Nestle Plc has indicated interest in developing its dairy project in Abaji, in the Federal Capital Territory.