Arla Foods, a Danish dairy company has pledged to transform local dairy farming in Nigeria with the commencement of production in Kaduna by first quarter of 2023.
Mr Peder Pedersen, Arla’s Managing Director in Nigeria said the project is designed to also train and empower local dairy farmers.
He said the Danish-designed state-of-the-art commercial dairy farm in Damau, Kaduna is about 60 per cent complete and should be completed by Q1 of 2023.
“The project is now about 60% complete and will be fully done in Q1 2023.
“The Arla farm will start up with 200 imported Holstein cows and will be scaled up organically to 400 milking cows within two to three years,” he said.
The Managing Director said that the construction of the farm which is being done by a local construction company will empower about 1,000 families.
“The farm construction is done by a local construction company that has hired many local workers from the Damau area in Kaduna.
“The current farming of the fields are operated and harvested in cooperation with the local people in the area providing part time jobs to many, especially women.
“The dairy farming project in partnership with the Kaduna State government, will provide facilities and stable income for up to 1,000 families, ” he said.
Pedersen said the 200-hectare farm which will be climate friendly will be powered by renewable energy (solar) while also incorporating irrigation farming for higher crop yield.
“The farm is focused on green solutions on energy and there are plans to produce electricity with solar panels.
“The design is specially done with animal welfare in mind, like for animal cooling and spacious living areas for the animals, to increase the durability of the animals and their daily production that lowers the carbon footprint per produced kilo of milk and meat,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that since 2017, Arla, makers of Dano milk has been the lead business partner in a partnership to develop a sustainable dairy value chain in Nigeria together with The Danish Agricultural and Food Council.
Others are the Danish Agricultural Knowledge Center Seges, Care Denmark, the Nigerian pastoralist organization CORET, and the dairy farm cooperative MILCOPAL.
The Milky Way Partnership program is supported by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In 2019, Arla scaled-up its commitment to develop a sustainable dairy sector in Nigeria with a new public-private partnership with the Kaduna State government.
The Federal Government in July announced plans to increase milk production from the current 600,000 metric tones to 1.6 billion metric tones by 2024.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who gave the short-term target, said the government will provide the needed infrastructure to enhance milk aggregation and distribution and that the plan will reduce the 1.3 billion dairy importation bill.