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Deploying DDP model in dairy production, women empowerment

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Female dairy farmers at Fashola village, Oyo State.

The prices farmers receive for their unprocessed, unpasteurised milk are largely determined by the forces of supply and demand, and government programmes (where such exist). Faced with few options to control the price for what they produce, farmers are exploring the Dairy Development Programme (DDP) to improve their livelihood and contribute to local milk production. FEMI ADEKOYA writes.

Many farmers see themselves as pawns in an agricultural system stacked against them, especially when they consider the challenge of transporting their goods to the markets or getting off-takers for their produce.

The DDP enables dairy farmers to run their businesses optimally as well as raise the quality and quantity of their dairy production. This is done through knowledge-sharing, training courses, and exchange programmes with a number of partners.

Considering the peculiarity of the dairy business, milk production goes beyond volume, but revolves around the lifestyle of the farmers, health of animals, and quality of milk.

To address the gaps in production, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, commenced a multi-billion naira Dairy Development Programme (DDP) in 2010, to backwardly integrate and empower farmers for sustainable supply and development of the dairy sector.

For some communities across Oyo State that depend on the money that dairy producers pay farmers, there is motivation to maintain the standard requirements rather than depend on the open market for sale.

According to Managing Director, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, Ben Langat, “Our Dairy Development Programme has supported four master farms where dairy projects are currently running and there are 16 more under development.

“The DDP has impacted over 100,000 people from raw milk supplies to the creation of job opportunities to host communities, for example – transporters, feed, veterinary supplies, among others. This has engendered business development around the milk collection centres.”

For Hawawu and Umu Abdullahi, both wives and mothers, before the DDP commenced in Iseyin land, Oyo State, they were both local cheese sellers without hygienic means of extending the shelf life of the cheese they both ate and sold for sustenance.

Reflecting on what had changed since the advent of WAMCO’s DDP, Hawawu told this writer, “My profit has improved. Every day after the cows are milked, we go and deliver the milk to the collection centres, and the company (FrieslandCampina WAMCO) pays us money very promptly.”

In addition to the boost in her income, Hawawu, like many other women dairy farmers, testifies to the social and lifestyle benefits that the DDP has brought their way.

She said: “I now belong to a women forum they encouraged us to form and join, where we learn and discuss things of great benefit to us as women. Before, things were very hard, but today, my life and that of my family is easier. I have even started an additional business of selling uncooked rice. I am happy.”

Umu Abdullahi’s testimony confirms that the DDP success in Oyo State has created numerous complimentary businesses, which have boosted the sights, sounds and socio-economic patterns of various communities significantly in the state.

She said, “I now have time to do other things as my family makes steady income from selling raw milk from our cows to the company. Also with more people coming to trade and live among us, this boosts our sales as we sell other things like foodstuff to the community and transporters.”

Both women like many others in the DDP communities, use some portion of the milk supplied to the company to nourish their families.

They could only drink milk in the morning because they had no means to preserve or process the fresh milk. They had to walk long distances to sell their ‘wara’ (local cheese), which they make from raw milk crudely preserved at home. But of course the meagre income from their ‘wara’ sales wasn’t commensurate to the effort they put into it.

The Dairy Development Programme is designed to provide sustainable livelihoods in over 90 farming communities where dairy farms have been made more effective.

Since signing and renewing its Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as the Oyo State Government, FrieslandCampina WAMCO also collaborates with the Dutch Government under the FDOV, IFDC-2SCALE and Sahel Capital.

It has setup one bulking centre, five milk collection centres, 10 milk collection points and dedicated 15 specialised milk trucks to facilitate the process of milk collection in the DDP area.

Some of the major drawbacks for other dairy companies who may have been contemplating the local sourcing of raw milk would include huge financial outlay, long term investment turnaround period and related community development projects that every dairy investor must also engage in before the affected communities can embrace fully the business model that such an investor will establish.

Over the years, FrieslandCampina WAMCO alongside its partners, has provided 50 solar-powered boreholes in the milk producing communities in Oyo State, completed over 200 hectares of pasture development, and trained over 3,500 dairy farmers/milk suppliers on various topics in modern dairy production.

According to Langat, “The DDP is the second chapter of our history and a new era for the dairy industry in Nigeria. Studies show that 95% of farmers in Nigeria are nomadic and they face challenges such as lack of knowledge, poor infrastructure and low financing. The DDP stimulates local sourcing of raw milk and supports the Federal Government’s initiative of improving dairy farming.”

The company also facilitates an annual Farmer2Farmer programme, where certified Dutch dairy farmers train and assist Nigerian farmers in extension services and improved dairy farming practices particularly targeted at increasing the quality and quantity of raw milk production.

While the DDP model may have helped to develop new capacities, policies and practices that benefit pastoralists, small-holder farmers and Nigeria’s dairy sector as a whole, there exists gaps in local sourcing that need to be filled in order to improve production and save costs incurred from importation.


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