NIGERIA – To increase its local content and support the Federal Government’s initiative to grow the agricultural sector, FrieslandCampina WAMCO is exploring measures to expand its Dairy Development Programme (DDP) through knowledge-sharing between the University of Ibadan and Wageningen University, Netherlands.

According to the company, the pact between the academic institutions is expected to aid the transfer of technology know-how on milk production to Nigerian farmers to improve the local content sourcing and enhance the well-being of value-chain operators.

Speaking during a visit to the firm’s DDP facilities in Oyo State, during the week, the Corporate Affairs Director, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, Mrs. Ore Famurewa, explained that the company, as part of its commitment to the programme, is exploring measures to make the project a nationwide agenda by ensuring that skills are transferred to assist indigenous farmers on best practices for improved yield.

According to her, the firm hopes to surpass its 10 per cent target from the current three per cent, noting that this move was necessitated by the need to explore and exploit the untapped natural endowments in the country.

In her words: “We plan to meet 10 per cent local content contribution in the next five years, but it has been very challenging.

We have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to support us in our dairy development programme.

Presently, we are at three per cent because dairy development is a gradual process, but for us, slowly and steadily, we would surely win the race.”

On his part, the Research and Development/ Dairy Development Manager, Lawrence Ohue Inegbenoise, said the DDP is aimed at addressing the challenge of ageing farmers across the country, scarcity of natural resources and the fast growing population.

“We believe the way to address these challenges is having DDPs across all our regions. We have been working with the Fulanis and based on our experience in other countries, we have cross-breeds that would increase milk production.

We have started with the Fulanis and the next step will be having a crop of young graduates that would be trained as small holders dairy farmers in clusters to get the entire infrastructure needed to boost our operations in dairy production,” he said.

He pointed out that the company had built infrastructure in order to ensure quality assurance, by deploying the use of cold chain systems, which he said regulates the timing of milk due to the short shelf life of the product.

Professor of Animal Science, Wageningen University, Netherlands, Imke De Boer commended the firm on success achieved with the DDP, noting that the initiative would bring the company closer to the local community.

She said the investments are aimed at improving the social status of the population, urging indigenous companies to increase their investments in local production rather than importing most of what can be locally produced.

“We are very impressed about the investment made by Friesland WAMCO made and its efforts in trying to actually work together with the local community because at the end these investments are aimed at improving the social status of the population.

Nigeria should invest in local production rather than importing and I think the investment is a very good start. We believe we can share our knowledge with the local farmers because they know the local situations. We want to identify the areas where we can share our knowledge,” she said.

She advised that priority should be given to development of Infrastructure, maintaining that infrastructure is vital to scale up dairy development in the country.

Managing Director at Wageningen Academy, Janine Luten affirmed the possibility of an exchange programme between the institution and stakeholders from the academic sector to address challenges in the nation’s dairy sector.

September 30, 2016;