The vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, called on investors in the diary industry to facilitate backward integration in the sector including providing incentives for local dairy farmers.
Osinbajo gave the charge on Friday when he received a delegation from Friesland Campina led by its Global chief executive officer, Mr. Hein Schumacher that visited him in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The delegation also included the Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Robert Petri, the chairman of the FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria, Mr. Jacob Ajekigbe and other management staff of the company.
“I think that Friesland needs to, on its own, do something because there is really no incentive for backward integration.
“I think that there is a need for you to do more in terms of local production and set some timelines. Maybe after six years, you should be doing 70 per cent and not 10 per cent. My view is that if we go at the current rate it will be extremely difficult for the local producers to move up,” said Osinbajo.
On the need to develop a robust plan to improve local production across the country Osinbajo said: “The plan of extending the dairy development programme to other states is extremely important. I just think that backward integration is just so crucial, my worry is the lack of incentives for backward integration.”
He advised that “as part of the backward integration, a programme of how to put the farmers in a position where they are able to produce more should be put in place.
“There should be a very robust plan to encourage cattle breeders to actually increase yields so that we can say, after a particular period, 70% of products should be locally produced but the problem, I must say, is still the lack of incentives.”
However, he assured the company of the federal government’s readiness to support it to actualize set business objectives while urging for better synergy between the public and private sector.
Earlier in his remarks, Schumacher said the company, established in Nigeria since 1973 had developed a plan to grow Nigeria’s local dairy industry through a small holder farmer dairy programme.
He however appealed to the federal government to support the company’s development plan by improving infrastructure in its operational base in Oyo State and also providing tax incentives for its new investments.