Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has begun substantive talks with Arla Foods, one of the world’s largest dairy companies and a major player in the Nigerian dairy sector on the development of the Nigerian dairy sector.
A high-powered delegation from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, on Wednesday held talks in Denmark with Arla Foods.
Speaking during a tour of Arla Foods dairy farms in Denmark, Senior Technical Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Andrew Kwasari, said partnership with Arla and knowledge sharing will help empower Nigerian farmers who face multiple challenges with logistics, infrastructure, organization, quality and productivity.
“We could definitely see Arla as a partner to help build a sustainable dairy industry in Nigeria from the very beginning based on its globally proven concept of dairy enterprise of farmers, for the farmers by the farmers.
Nigeria spends $1.3bn on dairy imports yearly. The Nigerian government would like to double the milk production in the country in the next three to four years so as to meet up with domestic consumption and become a net exporter.
With a population of over 180 million, Nigeria is presently not producing enough milk. More than 70% of dairy consumed in the country is imported.
The visit by the delegation from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture follows an earlier visit in February by the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kristian Jensen, where he signed a letter of intent with the Nigerian Minister of Agriculture to cooperate on the development of the Nigerian dairy sector.
While welcoming the Nigerian delegation during a tour of one of Arla’s dairy farms, Steen Hadsbjerg, Senior Vice President and Head of Arla Foods for Sub-Saharan Africa, said that Nigeria is key to Arla’s ability to sell its farmer owner’s milk in West Africa in the future. Hadsbjerg declared ”We understand that developing the Nigerian local dairy industry to create a sustainable value chain that contributes to food security, local jobs and prosperity are important issues for the government. The Nigerian government welcomes companies and initiative that will help this development.”
“The purpose of this visit is for Arla to understand the challenges in developing a sustainable dairy sector in Nigeria and how Arla can most effectively contribute to the solution. It is also for Arla to share our knowledge and experience about how our farmer owners have organized and developed their value chain. The result will benefit Arla’s opportunities whilst ensuring the good development of the dairy market in Nigeria for the benefit of all parties,” Hadsberg further said.
A member of the Nigerian delegation, who is also a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, Hon Mr. Hassan Saleh said, “Nigeria will need both local farmers ad imported products, so there will be a market for both in the future and I see a strong future for Arla in Nigeria. We will not be self sufficient for some years to come.”