Arla Foods pledges to continue support for Nigerian dairy sector

The dairy co-op has signed an MOU with the Nigerian government, with pledges including the promotion of the co-op model among nomadic herders

Multinational co-operative Arla Foods has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nigerian government, through which both parties commit to continue their efforts and develop the country’s dairy sector.

As part of this, the two signatories pledge to develop the local dairy sector by promoting co-operative business structures among nomadic herders. Other commitments include offering training and knowledge-sharing opportunities, continuing product development and focusing on sustainability and the creation of employment and better livelihoods for local dairy farmers.

“The Nigerian dairy sector has great potential and the combination of an entrepreneurial Nigerian mindset, a growing economy and our dairy farming expertise makes this a fruitful partnership for everyone involved,” said Peder Pedersen, senior director and head of Arla Nigeria.

“Being able to support the current demand with our products while at the same time contributing to the development of the local sector in a sustainable way is both practical and meaningful, and I am very happy that we have signed a new agreement.”

Arla started working with the Nigerian government in 2016. The new five-year agreement was signed during an event at the Arla Innovation Centre in Aarhus attended by a delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, led by agriculture secretary Ernest Umakhihe, and representatives from Arla.

 “The continuation is very much key because you are looking at the possibility of making the collaboration more robust,” said Umakhihe. “Being able to open up new opportunities and at the same time cover existing gaps in our sector, which we, and Arla Foods, have identified together.

 “Signing a new five-year agreement with Arla Foods bring a lot of opportunity for the Nigerian dairy industry as we continue to develop our sector exploring backwards integration and learning from one of the global leading players like Arla Foods.”

As part of its visit to Denmark, the Nigerian delegation called on Arla farmer-owner Claus Fenger whose farm is based just south of Aarhus. 

“I was very impressed with the farmer owner we visited,” said Umakhihe. “So much automation going on and I was really amazed by the level of professionalism and technology we experienced.”

In addition to working with the Nigerian government, Arla Foods runs training sessions for local farmers in order to maximise the output and quality of their milk pool under the Milky Way partnership. It has also built a state-of-the-art Arla-driven farm in Kaduna State.