JEROEN Elfers, corporate director, Dairy Development and Milkstream, Royal FrieslandCampina, has said that breeding, backward integration, food safety and farmer-centric programmes are the building blocks to sustainable dairy production in Nigeria.
Elfers said this during his presentation at a webinar organised by the Centre for Nigerian Dutch Dairy Development (CNDDD) monitored by The ICIR.
The webinar with the theme ‘Harnessing the Great Unpolished Diamond of Africa’ was organised to proffer ways to a better dairy industry in Nigeria.
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According to Elfers, the building blocks to sustainable productions also included: soil quality, climate, true backward integration, herd management, animal welfare, among others.
Backward integration occurs when a company purchases part of its supply chain.
Elfers noted that the private, public and knowledge sectors must also collaborate to build a strong sustainable dairy sector.
He advised Nigeria to build on the collaboration as it was one of the major factors enhancing the success of the Netherlands, China and Pakistan’s dairy development.
Ben Langat, managing director, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, one of the founding partners of the CNDDD, also called for sustainable dairy development to boost nutrition and food security in the country.
Langat said sustainable dairy development would enhance community empowerment, adding that dairy had 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.
He further stated that the increase in malnutrition required the development of high-quality protein for vulnerable populations, saying dairy was an affordable nutrient-dense food.
“This plays a vital role in making high-quality nutrition accessible to the population of the country… The centre is making dairy attractive; linking local and international partners to foster sustainable development,” Langat said.
Langat, who doubles as chairman of CNDDD, disclosed that the centre had established a partnership with the University of Abuja, 2Scale, Rabobank and Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands to enhance its mission.
Keith Heikes, chief operating officer, URUS, said that Brazil’s experience in the genetic improvement of dairy cattle provided a good roadmap for Nigeria to adopt.
Heikes said that improved genetics was one of the key building blocks of successful dairy development.
Speaking on the new partnerships, Abdulrasheed Na’Allah, vice-chancellor, University of Abuja, said that partnership with the centre would enhance knowledge transfer and exposure for students.
Na’Allah, who was represented by Akeem Oyerinde, deputy dean at the university, said time was apt to strengthen partnerships and innovations that would deepen Nigeria’s dairy sector
CNDDD is an organisation that 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.