Outspan Nigeria Limited (Outspan), a subsidiary of Olam International Limited (Olam), a leading agribusiness conglomerate, as part of a series of initiatives to boost local milk production in Nigeria, recently flagged off an artificial insemination programme for 100 dairy cattle in DawakinTofa Local Government Area (LGA), Kano state.
This initiative, sponsored by Outspan is being executed in partnership with the Kano Dairy and Livestock Husbandry Cooperative Union (KADALCU).
The artificial insemination programme, according to the firm is part of its larger backward integration programme (BIP) and scaled dairy sector effort that builds on the initial setup of two fully-equipped milk collection centres (MCC) in Dalhassan and Dawakin Tofa areas of the state, in addition to the upgrade of a third MCC sited inside the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) donated building also located within the sprawling milk-producing state.
The milk value chain development efforts are targeted at increasing the quantity as well as improving the quality of local milk production. It is expected that these efforts will help bridge the huge gap between local milk production and local milk consumption demand which currently stands at a staggering 70percent.
Speaking during the flag-off ceremony, Manish Khede, regional manager at Outspan said Olam is strongly committed to backward integration ventures across its operating markets. This underpins the value chain development approach in driving food security, expanding the pool of employment opportunities and strengthening the gross domestic product (GDP) of the countries.
“Nigeria consumes an estimated 1.7 million metric tons of dairy products annually, of which only 30percent are produced locally. We believe the gap can only be closed by partnering private investors and farmers to develop end-to-end value chain solutions,” he said.
“This is in line with Olam’s mission of re-imagining global agriculture and food systems to provide food that’s better for farmers, communities and our world. We know this can only be achieved in the long term by creating value for all stakeholders aiming to put more back into food and farming systems than is taken out,” he added.
Explaining further about Outspan’sBIP, Khede, said, “Apart from the MCCs, feed supplementation and artificial insemination programme, we also have plans for pasture development and small-scale model farm operations, amongst other initiatives to engage and support local communities. We look forward to getting these plans off the ground shortly –we are already in talks to secure a suitable piece of land to kick start the pilot phase for pasture and farming. We are working closely with KADALCU and the Kano State Government.”
Kabiru Ali, the representative of Samaila Umar Ganduje, the district head of Dawakin Tofa, at the flag-off ceremony, expressed his joy at the development brought into the community by Outspan.
He enthused, “Our dairy farmers will now be able to produce more milk through this artificial insemination programme. They will also make money from selling this increased milk quantity to take care of their families. What Outspan has done is laudable.”
Kabiru Abdullahi who represented the director of Livestock at the Kano Ministry of Agriculture & Natural Resources (MANR) at the event appreciated the organisation for its various investments into developing the local agriculture value chain.
He said that the state government is happy with the private investment drive and all the key partnerships being utilized by Outspan to implement its dairy developmental programmes.
Bilkisu MaheWali, branch controller, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Kano, who was one of the special guests at the event also said, “I am happy that these dairy value chain development activities are taking place in our local government. These initiatives will increase local milk production in such a way that in the nearest future our dairy farmers will be exporting fresh milk to countries within the West African region.”
Olam as an organisation has always been committed to backward integration in its global ventures including Nigeria, where it has been operating for more than 30 years. Some of its flagship BIP includes a 10,000-hectare rice farm and fully integrated rice mill in Nasarawa state, Tomato farm project in Jigawa state and investments in the Animal Feed Mill and Hatchery in Kaduna, amongst others.