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How FrieslandCampina WAMCO milk model improves Nigeria’s dairy sector

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Sampling good milk: Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh (middle) flanked by Rahul Colaco, MD, FrieslandCampina WAMCO (left) and Ore Famurewa (right) in The Netherlands - 2016
Sampling good milk: Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh (middle) flanked by Rahul Colaco, MD, FrieslandCampina WAMCO (left) and Ore Famurewa (right) in The Netherlands in April 2016

Nigeria still lags behind in driving a transition from traditional to modern practices that improve dairy yield as well as develop the value-chain for economic growth. The country’s success in the dairy sector urgently yearns for massive infrastructure investments, knowledge-sharing, innovation, mindset shifts in some cultural practices, stakeholder engagements and commitment to dairy development.

Five years ago, FrieslandCampina WAMCO introduced a multi-billion naira dairy development programme (DDP) model, which continues to boost local milk production and its growing success recommends it for adoption by the federal government, dairy investors and operators in growing the dairy industry.

Of all the companies packaging and selling milk products in Nigeria, FrieslandCampina WAMCO is the first to sign a memorandum of understanding with the federal government (five years ago) and the only one currently on ground with milk production facilities, and working with local farmers.

In the dairy industry, actions taken by dairy farmers with their animals affect not only the farm itself but also have ripple effects up and downstream from the farm along the entire dairy value chain.

That is why at the sight of milk, several questions are raised. Such questions include, where did the milk come from? What happens inside a dairy factory? How is milk produced and with what sort of equipment? What and how much do cows eat? What do milking cows weigh? Which insects affect cows? How often do farmers milk their cows? How is milk transported from place to place? How much milk do cows make each day? How long can milk last? What are the health benefits of drinking milk? What is the composition of milk? What is a dairy chain? What other products are made from milk?

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DDP - Musa and his cows
DDP testimony – Musa and his cows in Akele

Answering these questions require commitment to quality programmes that extend through every step of the supply chain; from farms to tankers, processing plants and sites, distribution networks to consumers – in short, how does milk travel from grass to glass? FrieslandCampina WAMCO’s DDP model addresses Nigeria’s challenges in milk production through a backward integration initiative that will aid local sourcing of milk rather than depend on imports.

According to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria grapples with about $1.3 billion import bill for dairy products for its population of over 170 million people. While the self-sufficiency target for milk production seems lofty, several challenges need to be addressed for sustainability in any milk project.

Among the problems identified in milk production in Nigeria are low milk output of Fulani cows, poor quality of the grass they feed on that leads to low milk yield, and lack of storage and processing equipment.

Addressing these challenges within the milk supply chain, FrieslandCampina WAMCO has made significant progress in the development of local milk production capacity in Nigeria with the engagement and training of over 1,600 (920 women and 726 men) Fulani milk farmers and other potential small holder dairy farmers in Oyo State.

While WAMCO continues to invest in the maintenance of its facilities, namely the Milk Bulking Centre in Iseyin and four functional Milk Collection Centres (MCCs) in Fashola, Akele, Maya and Iseyin, it has been able to receive at least 21,000 litres of raw milk from its local supply chain, daily.
Similarly, the company is also exploring measures to expand its Dairy Development Programme (DDP) through knowledge-sharing between the University of Ibadan and Wageningen University, Netherlands.

On Friday 27 September 2016 in Fashola village, Iseyin Oyo State, Abdullahi Salihu got up early to milk his 200 cows. In just over an hour of this task, Salihu with his wife and 12 other women had over 20 alluminium cans full of milk. These cans were moved to the 7,000-litre-capacity milk collection centre built within the settlement by FrieslandCampina WAMCO.

The milk containers were handed over to Adekunle Olayiwola John, Milk Collection Manager for FrieslandCampina WAMCO in Oyo State. First a coagulation test is run to determine whether or not the milk brought in by Salihu and others is still fresh. Several other tests are carried out at the centre to certify the milk received as fit for transportation to the Milk Bulking Centre in Iseyin town, which doubles as the company’s regional office, and from where all the milk collected, tested and certified fit for further processes are taken to Lagos in customized refrigerating tankers.

“The men and women who bring their milk to us on a daily basis have been trained on how to handle their cows and their milk. They already know milk that will pass or fail our quality tests. Milk rejections have fallen from eight percent to 1.2% and we expect it to come down to zero. On our part, we train these farmers on the best practices. Some of them can boast of 300 to 400 litres of milk daily” John explained.

FrieslandCampina WAMCO pays the local farmers N90 per litre of milk. This means that with 300 litres of milk, a fulani farmer can earn N27,000 daily or N9,000 daily at 100 litres of milk sold to the company per day.

Said Salihu (translated): “FrieslandCampina WAMCO has brought into our community prosperity and employment plus specialised milk education. Now our women can rest and earn money from milking their cows. In the past they survived on hawking over long distances. Now we all make money daily; our milk market is assured.”

Asked to compare the economics of selling cow meat and making money from selling cow milk, Salihu replied with a smile: “The income I make from selling milk from one cow is more than selling cow meat or three whole cows. We are all grateful to FrieslandCampina WAMCO.”

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.

The Corporate Affairs Director, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, Mrs. Ore Famurewa, while speaking during a visit to the firm’s DDP facilities in Oyo State, 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 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 how the firm’s efforts may have helped government to address grazing challenges in the country, Famurewa said smallholder farmers are beginning to explore inside grazing while cross-bred animals are being invested in for higher yields.

(Additional reports from The Guardian and Businessday)[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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