By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday in Abuja encouraged investors in the diary industry to facilitate “backward integration” including the provision of incentives for local diary farmers.
Osinbajo made this remark while receiving a delegation from FrieslandCampina led by its global Chief Executive Officer, Mr Hein Schumacher in the State House.
A statement by the vice-president’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, canvassed the need for Friesland to do more on dairy production by setting timeline for itself.
“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,” he quoted him as saying
Akande also said Osinbajo tasked his guests on the need to develop a robust plan to improve local production across the country.
He quoted him further: “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.
“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 per cent of products should be locally produced but the problem, I must say, is still the lack of incentives.”
The statement added that Osinbajo assured the company of federal government’s preparedness to give it the needed support to actualise its business objectives as he advocated better synergy between the public and private sector.
The statement also said earlier in his remarks, Schumacher recalled that the company which was established in Nigeria in 1973, had developed the plan to grow Nigeria’s local dairy industry through a small holder farmer dairy programme.
According to the statement, the CEO 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.
Members of the delegation 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.