Ekiti State government in partnership with Promasidor Nigeria Limited has resuscitated the 500 hectares Ikun Dairy Farm, which has been moribund for more than three decades since its establishment by the Shehu Shagari-led government in 1980s.
The partnership deal attracted a new investment of $5 million into Ikun Dairy Farm, which would be used to purchase equipment, provide the appropriate herd of cattle, and develop an out-grower scheme for providing feed for the cattle.
The upgrade of farmhouses and milking bay, and other facilities are expected to ensure a balance between dairy production, livestock well-being, environmental preservation, and long-term farm sustainability.
Few weeks ago, the state took delivery of the first batch of pregnant Jersey cows from the United States. This is part of a minimum pre-ordered pool of over 500 heifers, which will now add to the biological pool of 192 indigenous and cross breeds available on the farm. The farm is targeting a daily production of 10,000 litres of milk within the next 18-24 months to meet the growing demand.
All the parties are working to ensure that more of these breeds of cows arrive in Nigeria in the next few weeks, with the objective of making the dairy farm a model of backward integration in the sourcing and use of local raw materials for milk production.
During a visit to the farm located in Ikun-Ekiti, in Moba Local Government Area, it was observed that there is a restriction of movements into the facility as the cows are adjusting to the new environment.
The farm is now a beehive of activity and the arrival of the pregnant cows from the USA has increased the activities.
Some of the workers confirmed that the farm has been revamped and its lost glory restored.
The state Commissioner for Information, Values Orientation, Barr. Akin Omole, while speaking on the Ikun Dairy Farm, said, “The farm is doing well and would have a multiplier effect for the benefit of the state in the long run.”
Omole noted that, “Just recently, the company, Promasidor, took delivery of some cows that will be used in the production of milk at the company; they are already adjusting to new life in Ekiti at Ikun.”
The Director of External Relations, Promasidor Nigeria, Mr Andrew Enahoro, said that despite logistic challenges bordering on airlifting, the delivery of all the 500 Jersey breed cows was on course, adding that current milk production from the animals on Ikun Dairy Farm is being utilised by the calves, as the farm tries to ramp up volumes in preparation for processing.
Promasidor Nigeria has also embarked on the adoption of out growers for milk collection as a supplement to Ikun Dairy Farm’s direct milk production.
During a recent tour to the facility, the Group CEO of Promasidor, Olivier Thiry, said no fewer than 1,000 Ekiti citizens would be employed when the dairy farm is fully operational and also has a spill-over effect on small, medium and large-scale enterprises.
Olivier noted that, “With the installation of state-of-the-art equipment and zeal in attaining our backward integration goal, we hope to have an edge over competitors in the dairy industry.”
The company has revamped and reactivated the moribund Ikun Dairy Farm, through investment in state-of-the-art agricultural equipment and world-class technical know- how, thereby making the dairy farm a model of backward integration in the sourcing and use of local raw materials for milk production in Nigeria.
This will return Ikun Dairy as the pride of the Southwest region; create jobs, boost the state’s economy as well as milk production in the country.