KDSG and Arla break ground for Damau Milk Farm Project

Following the signing of an MoU between the Kaduna State Government and Arla Foods on 9th September 2019, the two parties have begun implementing the agreement to build and operate the Damau Milk Farm.

 

On Friday, 17th January 2020, KDSG and Arla performed the groundbreaking for the project sited on 9000 hectares in Damau, Kubau local government area of the state.  

 

This project is designed to transform livestock production by sedentarising pastoralists, increase their milk yields and improve their livelihoods by providing a buyer and processor of their produce. This business oriented model for solving farmer-herder clashes is expected to create jobs and help reduce the country’s reliance on imported milk and milk products.

 

Below are the speech read by Governor Nasir El-Rufai and photos from the event…

 

   Damau Milk Farm is a business-oriented solution to farmer-herder clashes

 

Remarks by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Damau Milk Farm Project, a joint venture between KDSG and Arla, held in Damau on Friday, 17th January 2020

 

PROTOCOLS

 

On behalf of the government and people of Kaduna State, I am most delighted to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony of the Damau Household Milk Farm. This project is a joint venture between Kaduna State, Miyetti Allah and Arla, a multinational dairy producer based in Denmark. We regard this as a pragmatic and sustainable solution to the security challenges that now accompany nomadic livestock production.

 

On 9th September 2019, the Kaduna State Government signed an MoU with global dairy giant Arla to transform the livestock sector in the state. Both sides committed to work on a project designed to change livestock production from a culture into a business. Kaduna State Government with the support and assistance of the Central bank of Nigeria, and Arla of Denmark agreed to invest in a project that will create jobs in the livestock sector, promote economic development and help resolve what has become a security problem by demonstrating a viable alternative to itinerant rearing of cattle and sheep.

 

We are persuaded that only a business model can sustainably sedentarise pastoralists, infuse modern technology into livestock production, improve yields, empower farmers and replace strife with prosperity. Damau Household Milk Farm Project will help expand our national capacity to produce high quality milk, and thereby reduce the reliance on imports. This project is not a magic wand, but an investment by committed partners in a pragmatic, realistic and sustainable path to resolving what has become a problem we should not be confronting in the 21st Century.

 

Where a rational solution exists, every stakeholder is obliged to assume their responsibilities to promote its adoption. Therefore, I am pleased that we are today concretising the project by breaking ground for the construction of the facilities required to for successful delivery of the project.

 

Damau Milk Farm will help 1,000 dairy farmers to secure better livelihoods. The farm will have 14,000 cows and each livestock farmer will have five hectares of farmland, complete with farmhouse, cattle shed and irrigated land. The project is designed to have facilities like police posts, schools, primary health centres, veterinary clinics and market stalls. The investors – the Kaduna State government, MACBAN, KMDMC and Arla – in this public -private partnership will also provide solar power and water to the farm.

 

The Damau Milk Farm will be open not only to itinerant pastoralists but any resident of Kaduna State of whatever ethnicity or religion to apply, locate and make a living from the livestock farming value chain.Our hope is that with the success of this initiative, we will replicate this across all the gazette grazing reserves in Kaduna State. Our long term goal is to eliminate nomadic livestock farming, educate the children of our pastoralists, empower them economically and modernize dairy production.

 

Our country has been waiting for a different and sustainable vision for the development of the livestock industry in Nigeria: We are very pleased to collaborate with Arla Foods to grow and further improve our nation’s dairy industry. We are convinced that with our different competencies, we can empower local farmers and promote market-driven sustainable dairy

 

As a partner in this project, Kaduna State will do its part to offer the 1,000 nomadic dairy farmers Certificates of Occupancy  to their farmlands in a sustainable cooperative, with access to adequate water. Arla will enable the provision of pasture and other consumables, provide the needed commercial services and will purchase, collect, process and bring the local milk to market. In the near future, we envisage the emergence of yoghurt, butter and cheese production, abattoirs and meat processing plants, and market for beef, mutton, hides and skins and other downstream dairy-related businesses in Damau.

 

I wish to express our appreciation to many institutions for making this day a reality. First and foremost, our gratitude to the Government of the Kingdom of Denmark, represented here by it’s ambassador, Jesper Kamp, for the enduring interest shown in our state and country, and for nudging and encouraging Arla to make this investment. We thank the Central Bank of Nigeria whose intervention funds at single-digit interest rates made this initiative a viable and affordable commercial proposition for the Kaduna State Government.

 

Arla’s willingness to partner with our State Government is the most significant variable that will make this idea a reality and a source of livelihood for thousands of our citizens. We are grateful to Arla UK and Denmark for committing to work with us from the very first day of our exploratory visit in December 2017, to deliver this project within two years of initial contact.

 

The Commissioner for Local Government Affairs and an illustrious son of Kubau, the Chairman of Kubau Local Government, the erstwhile District Head of Kubau and Ciroman Zazzau, Sarkin Dajin Zazzau, the Honourable members representing Kubau in the National and State Assemblies, and the local leadership of MACBAN all deserve special mention and recognition, along with the Village Heads and Ardos that came together to work with our Government and Arla to make this happen. May the Almighty Allah Reward you similarly.

 

Let me further state that while some misguided communities and their so-called leaders in some parts of our state are opposed to investment, progress and development, the people of Kubau and their leaders have shown uncommon commitment to promoting peace, security, job-creation and progress by embracing inclusion and investments.

 

I want to again reiterate that access to the Damau Farm and facilities here is open to all. Every farmer will apply for land individually and will be granted title upon joining the cooperative society under Arla’s management and oversight. We prohibit MACBAN or any person from levying any farmer or compelling any fees other than for joining the approved Cooperative Society coordinated by Arla. Any fees collected must be refunded to the farmers immediately.

 

Finally, my personal gratitude to our hardworking and competent investment promotion team led by Deputy Governors, Barnabas Bala and Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, Senior Adviser and Counsellor Jimi Lawal, KADIPA Executive Secretary Umma Aboki, our past and present Commissioners of Agriculture – Dr. Manzo Maigari, Prof Kabir Mato and Halima Lawal, past and present Permanent Secretaries – Dr. Kassim and Sabiu Sani and their team for remaining focused over the years to ensure we are here today. We call on everyone involved in delivering this project to work hand-in-hand to provide the required facilities so that the Damau farm can begin running within the shortest possible time.

 

Thank you for listening.

 

Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai

17th January 2020