Following months of partnership discussions, Arla Foods, makers of Dano milk and one of the world’s largest dairy cooperatives, has entered into a strategic agreement with the federal government through the ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to provide enabling organisational structure and trainings that will facilitate the development of the dairy industry in Nigeria.
The two parties signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Abuja in a move that reaffirms Arla’s commitment to support the Nigerian government with the development of the local dairy sector in Nigeria.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said the MoU was a signage for Nigeria’s critical need to develop the dairy industry, not just as a business but as a development program.
The minister welcomed objectives of the MoU, including support from EU, knowledge-transfer, partnership with farmers and technical training programs.
‘What you’re doing excites me a lot because Nigeria is at a critical time in its development. The population is growing extremely fast.
“We have a large number of children malnourished, almost 27 per cent. We have a school feeding program and dream of a day when every child should have sufficient meals per day.
“From the cattle breeding improvement program, we are looking at a near future when a family in the city outskirts can keep poverty away with 3 or 4 cows.
“The Nigerian dairy market is huge, with about 450 million consumers by 2050. Nigeria also has its eyes on feeding West, North and Central Africa.
“As soon as this MoU is signed, we expect you to go on with the joint ventures and partnerships”, the minister said.
Also speaking at the occassion, the regional office director for Sub-Saharan Africa, Arla Foods, Mr. Steen Hadsbjerg, while expressing delight at the new development, said the partnership will open a new window of job opportunities, increase in wealth creation for farmers and expansion of investment opportunities.
“Nigeria is one of the biggest markets for dairy products in Africa. For Arla to succeed in Africa, we must succeed in Nigeria. The population is growing, and people are young, ambitious and increasingly well-educated.
“By consummating this partnership today, we have taken another step to ensure that Arla Foods not only become a household name in Nigeria, but also work to create employment, improve return on investment for farmers and expand investment opportunities,” he said.
Hadsbjerg also revealed that the partnership with the federal Ministry Agriculture will promote and strengthen the emergence of a dairy cooperative system in Nigeria thereby giving farmers a strong voice and ensuring efficient distribution of knowledge.