Rural Families Benefit as FrieslandCampina WAMCO Transforms Dairy Sector – Langat
By Trek Africa Newspaper
Known in multinational circles as a turnaround business strategist, the Managing Director of FrieslandCampina WAMCO and Sub-Saharan Africa Cluster, Ben Langat, has maintained steam in the sustainable dairy breakthroughs that the firm has championed in more than a decade.
Since 2010 and still counting, FrieslandCampina WAMCO has invested over N21 billion in the Nigerian dairy sector even as the dairy giant continues to lead the transformation of the sector. Media visits to the dairy development sites of the firm across several states in the country show how the lives, living and livelihoods of thousands of farmers, their wives and children have gradually upscaled; improving their nutrition, health, earnings and access to child education, among other benefits that had eluded them for decades.
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Thriving on its corporate commitment of nourishing Nigerians with quality dairy products, FrieslandCampina WAMCO continues to help solve issues of malnutrition, poverty, herders and farmers’ incessant clashes, as well as promote sustainable dairy practices through intense and creative backward integration.
The company has created over 100,000 employment opportunities, directly and indirectly through on-farm and off-farm activities; improved the livelihood of over 12,000 smallholder dairy farmers and pastoralists, which they have organized into cooperatives and integrated them into FrieslandCampina WAMCO’s fresh milk supply chain, which provides for the local dairy farmers guaranteed incomes and market access all-year round.
FrieslandCampina WAMCO provided access to potable water for communities and livestock with the construction of 109 solar-powered boreholes and proficient extension services for value chain actors; extensive farmer2farmer training where Dutch farmers visit Nigeria to train local farmers on animal health, hygienic milking, and best global dairy practices.
%name Rural Families Benefit as FrieslandCampina WAMCO Transforms Dairy Sector Langat
Besides developing productivity and efficiency in farm management, FrieslandCampina WAMCO is the highest off-taker of fresh milk produced locally for manufacturing in Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Kwara and Ondo and have spread their footprints into northern Nigeria as champions of the nation’s march towards a prosperous and self-sufficient dairy industry.
Speaking to the media recently, the eminent dairy management maestro, Langat fielded these questions among others, thus lending credence to the impact his company has made in the dairy sector.
How do you sustain local content for your products?
To grow high milk-yielding cows, you have to put in extra effort like we have been doing for over 12 years. FrieslandCampina WAMCO is the highest off-taker of fresh milk produced locally from five states in Nigeria. Our Yoghurt factories are running on local milk, so we can say we have brands that are 100% Nigerian in our portfolio. However, to be able to meet the total dairy nutrition demands in a country as large as Nigeria, the local milk currently available is still very much inadequate. In my opinion, the model that the country will run will still have a reasonable mix of importation of some of the raw materials, while local content is developed over a period of time.
What impact do your dairy activities have in your host communities?
We are doing all the right things if you look at it from the employment perspective. Among the 12,000 farmers we work with, there are about 1500 Fulani women who had been at home but today, they are productive and are being paid regularly for raw milk and their families are much more prosperous than before – the farmers, their wives and children. In some cases, their mud huts have been rebuilt to brick houses and their children now go to school, which they could not afford before.
We have had to restrict our Forex needs as much as we can and also source it by any means legal. We sometimes source from commercial banks in addition to whatever the Central Bank is able to make available. Also, some of our service providers are able to source Forex and supply us products in Naira. This invariably means that the cost of raw materials will go up and ultimately affect the retail prices of our products. On insecurity, we have regular conversations with relevant government security agencies. We will never risk the lives of our people. Where we have security challenges around areas where we operate, we pull out for the time being like the case of the Bobi Reserve in Niger State. We had to withdraw from the location due to banditry in order not to risk the lives of our people. We are now in eight states in Nigeria; we work with 23 dairy cooperatives; we collect more than 40,000 litres of milk daily at peak periods and we have best-in-class raw milk quality, one of the best in Africa.
BIO: Bernard Cheruiyot Langat joined FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria in 2017 as the Managing Director and in July 2021, his role was expanded to Sub-Saharan Africa Cluster. He has over 30 years’ experience having worked in leading multinationals – Unilever, Coca Cola Hellenic – and across African markets in Kenya, Malawi, Ghana and Nigeria, where he has consistently led businesses to accelerate performance and build long term growth strategies, and has delivered impressive results even during volatile times.