Arla Foods, maker of Dano Milk, has inaugurated its state-of-the-art dairy farm in Kaduna as part of the company’s efforts to ensure sustainable milk production in Nigeria. The farm located in Damau village, Kubau Local Government Area, Kaduna State, was inaugurated on Thursday, May 25, 2023, by the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Governor El-Rufai described the newly commissioned dairy farm as a significant milestone and game-changer for the dairy sector in Nigeria. He 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 urged the incoming Governor of the State, Senator Sani Uba, to continue to support Arla and other companies with investments in the state for economic prosperity.
The Arla Farm – a state-of the-art Danish designed dairy farm – is the first of its kind in Nigeria and with it, Arla is creating the future of dairy in Nigeria. Designed to ensure optimum animal welfare and productivity, the Farm will be a showcase for sustainable milk production in Nigeria. It covers 400 Ha of land, with the capacity to house 400 milking cows and 1000 animals in total. Currently, the farm is home to 216 Danish Holstein cows, which arrived in May 2023 and are settling well into their new environment.
In his welcome address, the executive vice president of Arla Foods International, Simon Stevens, 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. He 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.
“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,” Stevens said.
He added that the farm, delivered at an investment cost of over 10 million euros, would serve as a place of milk production and an epicentre of dairy farming knowledge.
In his remarks, Danish Ambassador to Nigeria, Sune Krogstrup, noted 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, the head of Arla Foods West Africa, Anna Månsson, 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 also noted that the state-of-the-art dairy farm is the first of its kind in Nigeria, poised to define the future of dairy in Nigeria.
Månsson 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. She explained that the farm is expected to produce 1.6 million kg of milk in 2024, with a target of 4 million kg of milk annual production.
In his goodwill message, the Emir of Zazzau, Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, noted that he is proud to be associated with such a massive investment as this would bring about economic transformation to the people of Kaduna State and beyond.
“I am happy to have witnessed many strategic investments in my domain over the last few years. This kind of investment – Arla Farm, can only be found in other climes, but I am glad I am witnessing such in my reign. On this basis, I would like to say a big thank you to Arla Foods, and Kaduna State Government's management and staff for this investment,” Bamalli said.
In her remarks, the Managing Director of Kaduna Markets Management and Development Company, Tamar Nandul, 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.
Also speaking, vice president of Finance for the International Zone, Arla Foods, Steen Futtrup stated that the official opening of the farm is a clear example of the company’s commitment to Nigeria, saying that the company is optimistic that the farm would make a significant impact on the local dairy industry.
Speaking on the features of the farm, managing director, Arla Nigeria, Peder Pedersen, stated that the project, which covers 400 hectares of land with the capacity to house 400 milking cows and 1,000 animals, is designed to ensure optimum animal welfare and productivity.
Pedersen noted that the farm is home to 216 Danish Holstein cows, which arrived a few days ago and are settling well into their new environment. According to him, the Holstein breed, known to have a higher yield per cow than local breeds, is expected to produce 5 million kg of milk per year at the farm’s full capacity.
He stated that the farm has state-of-the-art technology that offers comfort for animals and helps a great deal in producing high-yielding milking cows.