The Federal Government and Arla Foods, maker of Dano milk, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, to boost the dairy industry.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, signed on behalf of the Federal Government, while the Vice President, Arla Foods, Steen Hadsbjerg, signed on behalf of his company.

The minister commended the move by the world’s largest dairy company for expressing hope in the dairy subsector and said the MoU would further add value to the lives of Nigerians, particularly children.

He said, “What you are 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 three or four cows.

“The Nigerian dairy market is huge, would have 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.”

Meanwhile, expressing optimism about the contents of the MoU, Hadsbjerg, said the company would train 200 farmers and also produce 1, 000 litres of milk per day.

“We are committed to train 200 farmers in the beginning and a year to work with. We are committed to work towards what is called off-take and see how much local milk do we intend to utilise and that by 2020 we will be able to have 1000 kilo per day.

“There is no raw material at the moment that is why we are committed on how to source for local raw materials. We are in the process of laying out the project; remember the aim we use is the framework that will now be specified into the project and by November, December  we will have detail project plans that will spell how much we will be doing out of this area.

He also disclosed that the company will start work in Kwara and Kaduna States under the MoU, then to include farmers across Nigeria.

According to him the agreement would end by 2020. “The commitments we have given to government specify the object and target for 2020. We will be here for a long time,” he added.

The MoU empowers Arla Foods to create incentives for nomadic herders to develop cooperative dairy businesses through the provision of workable organisational structure and training, as well as promoting and strengthening dairy cooperatives in Nigeria by improving their capabilities to be competitive on price and quality as well as gaining a larger share of the local dairy market.

Other areas of improvement the partnership will focus upon include capabilities for qualitative product development and go-to-market abilities.

Agribusiness Information