FrieslandCampina WAMCO, the pioneer of dairy development in Nigeria, has recorded another step in developing the dairy sector by entering an agreement with SMAP Farms Limited – a local breeding farm and URUS Group LP – a cattle genetics company under the Vaue4Dairy Consortium.
Launched April 2021, the consortium partners, comprising four companies: FrieslandCampina WAMCO (milk collection and processing), URUS (breeding), Barenbrug (roughage production) and Agrifirm (animal nutrition), all with roots in the Netherlands, joined forces to fast-track the development of the Nigerian dairy chain and enable a self-sufficient local dairy sector.
“The ‘Value4Dairy Consortium’ has taken another long-term measure that will provide a solid foundation for sustainable growth in local dairy farming,” said Ore Famurewa, executive director, corporate affairs, FrieslandCampina WAMCO in a statement.
“Key to this growth is increasing milk production whilst investing in several critical building blocks required to achieve this, including nurturing improved breeds. This agreement between FrieslandCampina WAMCO, URUS and SMAP will bring a true and sustainable innovation for Nigeria based on long time expertise of all involved.”
URUS, the world leader in cattle genetics, selected the Girolando breed for introduction to Nigeria under the flag of the consortium.
The Girolando breed is a composite of Holstein Friesian and Zebu (Dairy Gir) and has been used with tremendous results for many decades in Brazil and other tropical environments similar to Nigeria.
It is a breed with great potential for Nigeria as it is adapted to heat and is tick-borne disease tolerant whilst producing high milk yields along with other genetic traits of economic importance to farmers.
“The Value4Dairy Consortium’s strategy to take the dairy sector in Nigeria to a higher level is in alignment with the country’s economic agenda”, said Yvonne van der Vorst, global director, dairy development at Royal FrieslandCampina, the Netherlands, who is closely involved with the Consortium.
“The Consortium seeks to provide sustainable solutions for the long term; solutions that work and will make the dairy sector self-sustaining. These partners with proven track records are already bringing great benefits to the dairy value chain in Nigeria” she said.
To maximize success with breeding, FrieslandCampina WAMCO and URUS partnered with SMAP Farms Limited, a Nigerian breeding farm with a proven track record in artificial insemination and cross-breeding.
“In 2022, Girolando semen will be imported to Nigeria and used to breed approximately 500 cows. The farmers involved will be closely guided up to the time each calf will become a milking cow for optimal learnings and results, to further upscale things” noted Marcel Petrutiu, URUS director of global development.
Responding to the partnership initiative, Suraj Ajiboye, CEO SMAP Farms Limited said, ”The objective of this pilot by URUS in Nigeria is to demonstrate how the Girolando breed performs best under the Nigerian climate.”
“By breeding youngstock and raising them into cows locally, knowledge is built where it is applied and needed most. Ultimately, this will provide the best solution for the Nigerian dairy sector, a solution that suits the needs to build profitable dairy farms to nourish Nigerians.”