By Oluwafunke Ishola
Mr Ben Langat, Managing Director, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc., on Wednesday called for sustainable dairy development to boost nutrition and food security in the country.
Langat made the call at a virtual webinar organised by the Centre for Nigerian Dutch Dairy Development (CNDDD) monitored in Lagos.
Theme of the webinar was: “Harnessing the Great Unpolished Diamond of Africa.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc., in partnership with key stakeholders, developed the CNDDD, an expertise centre for dairy development.
It focusses on improving dairy productivity and sustainability throughout the entire dairy value chain in Nigeria, based on Dutch expertise gained for more than a century.
Langat said sustainable dairy development would enhance community empowerment, adding that dairy has an impact on poverty reduction.
He said that a Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) study showed that milk collection and distribution generated a considerable amount of direct and indirect employment.
According to him, increase in malnutrition requires the development of high quality protein for vulnerable populations, saying dairy is an affordable nutrient dense food.
“It plays a vital role in making high quality nutrition accessible,” he said.
Langat, also Chairman of the centre, said a strong agricultural sector offered a sound basis for a stable society.
He said that the country has an opportunity to strengthen the dairy sector using the best technology for growth.
Langat said that the centre was positioned to build a sustainable dairy sector in the country.
“The centre is making dairy attractive; linking local and international partners to foster sustainable development,” the chairman said.
He said that the centre forged partnership with the University of Abuja, 2Scale, Rabobank and Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands to enhance its mission.
Also, Mr Jeroen Elfers, Corporate Director, Dairy Development and Milkstream, Royal FrieslandCampina, said that the private, public and knowledge sector must collaborate to build a strong sustainable dairy sector.
Elfers said that the three sectors enhanced the success factors of Netherlands, China and Pakistan’s dairy development.
He listed some building blocks required for Nigeria to drive a sustainable dairy sector as small holder farmer centric programme, quality and food safety, feeding, breeding, among others.
Commenting, Mr Keith Heikes, Chief Operating Officer, URUS, said that the Brazil’s experience in genetic improvement of dairy cattle provides a good roadmap for Nigeria to adopt.
Heikes said that improved genetics was one of the key building blocks of a successful dairy development.
Commenting, Prof. Abdulrasheed Na’Allah, Vice-Chancellor, University of Abuja, said that partnership with the centre would enhance knowledge transfer and exposure for the students.
Na’Allah, represented by Dr Akeem Oyerinde, Deputy Director, Department of Agriculture at the university, said the time was apt to strengthen partnerships and innovations that would deepen Nigeria’s dairy sector. (NAN)