“We started from scratch. Today, we have a total of 16 milk collection centres and 10 new ones are being constructed as we speak”
FrieslandCampina WAMCO started its Dairy Development Programme(DDP) in Nigeria in 2010. It was targeted at setting up backward integration projects in order to source raw milk locally and upscale the country’s dairy industry. Ten years down the line, the DDP has been a humongous success, extending from Oyo to four other states and impacting the lives of 7,000 farmers and their families.
Ben Langat, managing director, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria plc, spoke with Odinaka Anudu, Business Day Industry Editor, on the achievements of the DDP and how it has helped to grow the Nigerian economy.
Your Dairy Development Programme (DDP) is going on in five states. Tell us how it started 10 years ago.
In 2010, we started with Shonga Farms in Kwara State by supporting the farm to meet our quality standards. Then we began offtake of milk from them. We then moved to Oyo state, putting infrastructure in place for our pilot Dairy Development Programme (DDP). We built milk collection centres in several communities in Oyo. The first milk collection centre was built in Fashola in 2011.
We started from scratch. Today, we have a total of 16 milk collection centres and 10 new ones are being constructed as we speak, with one bulking centre in Iseyin, where the raw milk goes into big cooling trucks and moved to Lagos.
What quantity of raw milk are you currently getting per day?
We are collecting about 40,000 litres a day. Our actual storage capacity is 85,000 litres, which means there is still a lot of room for this to increase. Presently, we are in Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Kwara and we have just launched into northern Nigeria with a large project that is going on in Niger state at Bobi Grazing Reserve.
We have a milk collection centre there with plans to engage a third party processor. We are doing full backward integration with the DDP, which is also supported by government through the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
How do you utilise the raw milk you source through your DDP?
In 2019, we built a new factory and the bulk of fresh milk that is collected is what we use in producing our Peak yoghurt range. It is a brand new factory, which was commissioned last year. So, you see, we are not only collecting some raw milk, it’s a full business strategy. It is adequate to run a full production and manufacturing process. We also use some of the fresh milk in manufacturing the evaporated milk.
How has the DDP engaged local dairy farmers?
We work with 7,000 farmers presently; 950 of them are women and we are targeting to work with a lot more. We have established dairy cooperatives for a sustainable dairy value chain.
What are the most consistent challenges confronting the dairy programme?
We have faced a lot of challenges, having started from scratch. We don’t have quality dairy breeds in the country and have to build stock from very low mother stock. A key part of the DDP effort is in the crossbreeding programme to ensure we build enough dairy stock for farmers. There is the challenge of poor infrastructure.
There are also normal challenges of cow diseases, water supply to farms and nomadic lifestyle of pastoralists, among others. So there was a need to educate the farmers on how to improve their feeds, get veterinary support for the cows, all in a bid to improve the milk yield. The challenge around animal husbandry is really getting the right animal that can give the right yield. The cows that are in Nigeria are largely beef cattle. Overtime, they have to be improved. Progress is slow and that is one big challenge.
Are there areas government can help the dairy sector?
There is a lot more that needs to be done to improve infrastructure – road networks, power and water supply in rural locations. insecurity, is also a challenge. Each community comes with its own challenges, like communal clashes over land resources, among others.
The biggest challenge that dairy development will face in the north is insecurity, in addition to low quality pasture. We are focused on getting the yield per cow up to the right level. We have the traditional beef cows that produce one to two litres per day. But with artificial insemination and crossbreeding, we can get more than 10 litres per cow over time, and that would be a lot better.
Culled from Business Day
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