By Onome Amuge
Arla Foods , producer of Dano Milk, has launched its state-of-the-art Danish designed dairy farm in Kaduna, expected to produce 1.6 million kilogrammes of milk in 2024, with a target of four million kilogrammes of milk annual production as part of the company’s commitment to ensure sustainable milk production and enhance the future of dairy production in Nigeria.
The farm located in Damau village, Kubau Local Government Area, Kaduna State,covers 400 hectares of land, with the capacity to house 400 milking cows and 1000 animals in total,and was delivered at an investment cost of over 10 million euros.
According to the company, the farm is currently home to 216 Danish Holstein cows, sourced directly from Arla’s farmer owners from Europe in May 2023,and are settling well into their new environment. The Holstein breed, known to have a higher yield per cow than local breeds, is expected to produce five million kilogrammes of milk per year at the farm’s full capacity.
Arla Foods also disclosed that the farm is designed with state-of-the-art technology to ensure optimum animal welfare and productivity, and well positioned as a showcase for sustainable milk production in Nigeria.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony held recently in Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai, the Kaduna State governor described the newly commissioned dairy farm as a significant milestone and game-changer for the dairy sector in Nigeria.
The governor commended the management of Arla Foods for having faith and confidence in Nigeria and the Kaduna State Government.
Governor El-Rufai explained that the Arla Dairy Farm is another testament to the commitment of the Kaduna State Government to collaborating with private organisations and providing the enabling environment for businesses to set up and thrive in the state.
He also urged Sani Uba, the incoming state governor, to continue to support Arla and other companies with investments in the state for economic prosperity.
In his welcome address, Simon Stevens, the executive vice president of Arla Foods International,described the completion of the farm as a massive achievement for Arla Foods in its journey in Nigeria and globally, noting that this success exemplifies the significance of solid partnership and the vast potential available in Nigeria.
Stevens disclosed that the project was conceived in line with the quest to achieve a number of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including 2, 8, 12 and 17.
In his words, “This milestone symbolises what can be achieved with strong partnerships. We can see how the contribution of the Kaduna State Government, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, NGOs, the farming community, and many more have helped to deliver a big project. I’m happy that many of my colleagues are celebrating this joyous occasion in Lagos and at the global headquarters in Denmark. And when you look around at these facilities, I hope you are filled with pride as I am.
Besides, this achievement symbolises the massive potential we see in Nigeria and the exciting journey this country is on. We have been part of this journey for quite some time, and we are extremely committed to continuing to play a part and contribute to the development of the dairy industry.”
He also assured that the farm would serve as a place of milk production and an epicentre of dairy farming knowledge.
Sune Krogstrup,Danish Ambassador to Nigeria, remarked that the project demonstrates Arla Foods’ commitment to boosting the local dairy segment of the agricultural value chain that would positively impact the economy of Kaduna State and contribute significantly to Nigeria’s GDP.
Also speaking,Anna Månsson, the Head of Arla Foods West Africa, noted that the commissioning of the project is a culmination of a series of events that began with the signing of a lease agreement with the Kaduna State Government in 2021, resulting in the securing of farmland and followed by construction work.
Månsson further noted that over 40 people would be directly employed at the farm, as this would serve as a means of livelihood to Nigerians, especially those within the Damau community of Kaduna state..
In her remarks,Tamar Nandul, the managing director of Kaduna Markets Management and Development Company, stated that the agency is proud to be associated with Arla Foods and the value addition to Kaduna state investment.
Nandul acknowledged that the farm is unarguably the most advanced single farm in Nigeria and noted that this project would go a long way to improve profitability for herders, revolutionise the state’s dairy value chain and bring about permanent solutions to the herder-farmer crisis.