A Dairy Development Programme (DPP) aimed at cutting the nation’s huge import bill for dairy products and also create jobs is on course. The programme supports local sourcing of raw milk rather than imports by engaging and training Fulani milk producers and potential smallholder dairy farmers.
The Research & Development (R&D)/Dairy Development Manager, FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc, Mr. Lawrence Inegbenoise, is upbeat. He is expectant that the company’s cooperation talks with academic institutions in The Netherland in knowledge-sharing and exchange programme with Nigerian dairy farmers would boost the transfer of technology know-how on milk production and expand its on-going Dairy Development Programme (DDP).
At the behest of FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc, dairy producer, two dons from The Netherlands, Imke de Boer, a Professor of Animal Science, Wageningen University, and Managing Director, Wageningen Academy, Janine Luten, were in Nigeria recently to explore the possibility of transferring skills to assist local dairy farmers on best practices for improved yield.
“Fulani cows are local breeds so, we have brought in experts to train them on how to cross-breed with the local cows, which can produce 500 litres of raw milk, while cross-breeds can produce 1,200 litres,” Inegbenoise explained, exuding confidence.
He spoke while conducting reporters and experts from The Netherland round the company’s dairy development facilities in Oyo State.
FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc, makers of dairy brands such as Peak Milk, Three Crowns, Friso, among others, has been pushing a DPP since August 2010. The Private-Public Partnership (PPP) initiative was aimed at developing the local dairy industry by creating a sustainable raw milk value-chain that contributes to food security through provision of quality dairy nutrition to Nigerians as well as providing jobs.
The company is the only dairy manufacturer sourcing part of its raw milk requirement locally. It has invested over N4 billion on the project so far. The scheme draws its strength partly from the Federal Government’s backward integration policy, which encourages building capacity in local manufacturing to significantly reduce imports and create jobs.
Under the DPP’s sustainable raw milk value-chain, Inegbenoise said that Fulani herdsmen constitute the first leg of the empowerment programme under which they are trained to ensure they get the best quality milk for FrieslandCampina. The herdsmen are supported through consistent trainings and demonstrations to upgrade their milk supply in terms of quantity and more importantly, quality.
They are also trained in the use of crop residues and fortification as sources of good feed to cattle. Also, feed preservation through silage and hay making are demonstrated, while crossbreeding through artificial insemination was carried out.
The second leg of the empowerment is the smallholders’ concept, where graduate farmers are engaged and put in clusters of ten and supported to become more productive. They are allowed to share infrastructure such as farming implements, power and feeds, while the third group are the cooperatives, conceived in the mould of the Dutch parent company Royal FrieslandCampina dairy cooperative concept.
The Nation learnt that the parent company is owned by 19,000 dairy farmers drawn from over 13,000 cooperatives. The cooperatives, Fulani herdsmen and smallholder dairy farmers also benefit through the opening up of markets for them. “We have made good progress in the area of networking of milk suppliers,” Inegbenoise said.
While the company continues to invest in the maintenance of its facilities: the Milk bulking Centre in Iseyin and four functional Milk Collection Centres (MCCs) in Fashola, Alaga, Maya and Iseyin in Oyo State, it has been able to receive at least 21, 000 litres of raw milk from its local supply chain.
FrieslandCampinaWamco Nigeria PLC Corporate Affairs Director, Mrs. Ore Famurewa, explained that although, the company started by buying raw milk from Zimbabwean farmers in Shonga, Kwara State, and bringing it to its factory in Lagos for production, it soon realised that this was not enough; that it was better to get Nigerians, the local Fulani farmers to milk cows for it.
At the last count, over 1, 600 (920 women and 726 men) Fulani milk producers and potential smallholder dairy farmers have been engaged and trained. According to Famurewa, the knowledge sharing and exchange programme with The Netherland’s experts was a continuation of the development of the local milk production capacity in Nigeria.
Boost for local content
Famurewa said the company believes strongly in supporting local content wherever it operates and that it has made significant progress in the development of local milk production in Nigeria. She said although, the company targets 10 per cent local content in raw milk production every five years, it is currently doing three per cent.
“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 (MoU) with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to support us in our DPP. 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,” Famurewa said.
Through the programme, the company may have also assisted government to address the grazing challenge in the country. Famurewa admitted this much when she said that smallholder farmers are beginning to explore inside grazing while cross-bred animals are being invested in for higher yields. “A lot of people in the country have complained about Fulanis going into their farms to graze, causing mayhem, but overtime we have been able to reduce this menace in Oyo State,” she said.
The DDP may have also addressed the challenge of ageing farmers across the country, the scarcity of natural resources and the fast growing population. “We believe the way to address these challenges is having DDPs across all our regions. If you want to be sustainable, you must take care of the growing population, the issue of aging farmers and you must ensure managing resources well,” Famurewa said.
While pointing out that if Fulani are allowed to continue moving around, land will still be a problem, she said if the company is able to gather them in a small dairy concept idea then it is possible to solve the problem of land.
“In a small land you can get more milk because the more the cattle treks they would not be able to produce because they have trekked all their energy whereas cows that are stabled like in the Netherlands, they relax, they are very big, very fresh and happy. They also produce 40 liters of very good milk per cow per day,” she said.
products’ import bill
Experts and operators in the dairy industry estimate Nigeria’s import bill for dairy products to be about $1.3 billion yearly. From an estimated total value of $336 billion in 2014, the dairy industry, which entails cattle raring for milk production and all the associated manufacturing processes from the farms to the tables, is projected to hit $442 billion by 2019.
The thinking is that with the on-going diversification agenda and the push for industrialisation to mitigate the effects of the current economic recession, an initiative in the mould of the DPP could not have come at a better time. For one, it would help slash the nation’s huge import bill for dairy products, while also helping Nigeria claim a share of the $442 billion dairy business by 2019.
However, for this happen, more players in the dairy business must come on board. Listen to Famurewa: “Other dairy companies can come in or borrow a leaf from us by investing in sustainable business model. We have done what we want to do in Oyo State, but we are not resting on our oars. We plan to extend it across the country because dairy development should be a national thing.”
Although, the management of the dairy producer recently met with President Muhammadu Buhari and pledged its support for the government and also got endorsement as the preferred partner for dairy development in Nigeria, supportive infrastructure remains key to the success of the initiative.
Imke de Boer puts it in perspective, saying that for the local dairy industry to grow infrastructure development especially in rural areas is key especially access roads in farming communities.
Noting that it would be difficult to compare dairy development in the Netherland to Nigeria, which FrieslandCampina has just kick-started, because of difference in climate, she described the DPP as “a very good start”.
“We came to find out which areas to share our knowledge and expertise to further develop the project. We can’t bring our knowledge to Nigeria and the African society without first understanding what’s on the ground,” de Boer said.
Quality takes centre stage
It’s FrieslandCampina’s emphasis on quality that earned it the Federal government’s endorsement as preferred partner for dairy development in Nigeria. First, the raw milk come in 10 and 20 litre special aluminium flasks distributed free to the farmers by the company.
According to its Milk Collection Manager, Mr. Adekunle Olayiwola John, the special flasks, unlike the calabash, are more hygienic, enabling dairy farmers to get the milk to the MCCs in good quality.
While the Fasola MCC has 7, 000 litres capacity, but collects 5, 200 litres of milk per day, Maya MCC has 12, 000 litres capacity. John said each MCC is equipped with cooling systems that guarantee quality and standard. This is because unlike some crops that can last for a day or two, milk is time sensitive and could get bad in two hours if it is not treated.
Hear him: “We ensure that within two hours after milking, it should get to our collection centre for test. The challenge is actually at the farm level where you have to be sure that the milk doesn’t contain antibiotic. So we have experts on ground to train the farmers on hygiene and everything they need to know about how to handle cows and milk. So we have tackled quality from cows up till the transporters. Farmers even know when the milk is good or bad.”
The Milk Collection Manager added that as part of quality control, rapid test is conducted on the milk for adulteration, antibiotic and coloration test right at the collection centre. “When accepted it is poured into the tank for processing and sent to the Bulk Collection Centre in Iseyin, where the milk is lifted to Lagos every three days,” John said.
He, however, said if the milk coagulates in the process of testing, it means it is not fresh and it is rejected. “If they (farmers) bring milk of three days, we can detect it through test and reject it,” he said, noting that because of strict quality control measures, milk rejection level, which was as high as 7.5 per cent per day when the company started, has reduced to 1.2 per cent per day.
Source: <The Nation>