Friesland and the Fulani

FrieslandCampina Wamco, Nigeria’s largest producer of dairy products, uses mostly imported milk powder because local supplies of fresh milk are unreliable. 2SCALE is using its community mobilization skills to help the company source more milk locally.

Traditional pastoralists from the Fulani community produce 70 percent of Nigeria’s milk, but rarely participate in formal dairy markets. 2SCALE is bringing in technology, training and market linkages to help the Fulani produce milk on a commercial scale, for sale to FrieslandCampina.

The program began in July 2012 with an awareness campaign targeting 3,500 milk producers across 43 locations. Partnerships were built with existing dairy cooperatives, veterinary service providers, government livestock experts, extension agents and local NGOs. Technologies for animal nutrition and milk processing were identified and scaled out.

Fulani cooperatives now deliver over 7,000 liters of milk every day to two milk collection centers in Bale and Alaga, where the milk is tested for quality and purity, pasteurized, chilled and trucked to Lagos for processing. 2SCALE field staff visit every community at least twice a month to monitor progress, provide technical advice, and build confidence in this new way of doing business.

Cattle owners are using practices introduced by 2SCALE: hygienic milking procedures to prevent spoilage, enrichment of rice straw with urea and molasses to increase energy and protein content, and supplemental feeding to maintain milk yields during the dry season. These technologies are not provided free – farmers are investing, in cash or in kind.

“Our cows eat grass, not feed supplements,” many owners said, when supplements were introduced. Now even the traditionalists are convinced. Milk yields have increased substantially. Profitability per lactating animal has increased by nearly 80 percent. Cows that gave less than 2 liters of milk per day now give 3.5 liters, as a result of feed supplementation.

Six dairy producer groups have been established: one near Abuja, and two in Kwara and Oyo states. Each has been linked to extension agents, veterinarians, input suppliers and financial institutions. Over 350 milk producers and extension agents have been trained on milk hygiene and quality, and animal health and feeding. Community-based livestock workers have been recruited, trained and deployed. A business support organization (recommended by the community) has been contracted to provide mentoring and technical advice. A tsetse fly control plan has been developed in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research.

These are only the first steps. But already, FrieslandCampina and 2SCALE, in collaboration with government agencies, have created a platform for fundamental change in Nigeria’s dairy sector.

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