Arla Foods has announced plans to build a commercial dairy farm in Northern Nigeria to support local milk production.

The 200ha dairy farm in Kaduna State will have the capacity to accommodate 400 cows and features modern milking parlours and technology, grasslands and living facilities for 25 employees.

Arla Foods International executive vice-president and head Simon Stevens said: “There is a great need for nutritious food and dairy products to satisfy the growing demand from Nigeria’s fast-growing population.

“This requires a complementary approach where imported food is crucial to ensure food security while also supporting the government’s long-term agricultural transformation plan to build a sustainable dairy sector in Nigeria.”

With the construction of the commercial dairy farm, Arla Foods aims to further strengthen its commitment to public-private partnerships that support the development of the Nigerian dairy sector.

It will also train and support up to 1,000 local dairy farmers at this facility, which will help them in improving milk yields.

The new facility is slated to open next year and will be led by Arla’s farm management expert Snorri Sigurdsson.

Once operational, it is expected to produce over 10t of milk per day, which will be processed by Arla’s dairy plant in Kaduna State.

The processed milk will be used for dairy products to be manufactured locally and offered to Nigerian consumers.

Arla Foods Chairman Jan Toft Nørgaard said: “To collaborate with farmers in many parts of the world, sharing knowledge and supporting local dairy industries is a key part of our cooperative mindset and our farm in Nigeria is the next important step.”

“When it is built, we can support local dairy farmers to create better livelihoods and it is a key enabler to growing dairy and food production on a local scale.”