FrieslandCampina, a prominent Dutch dairy company, has entered into an agreement with the Ivorian Ministry of Animal and Fisheries Resources (MIRAH) to establish a Dutch Center for Dairy Expertise in Ivory Coast. The joint project aims to collaborate with the government’s Development and Promotion of Ivorian Milk Production (Pro Lait) initiative, with the goal of meeting the expectations of breeders and stakeholders in the Ivorian milk value chain.
The Ivorian Minister of Animal and Fisheries Resources, Sidi Tiémoko Touré, stated that this initiative aligns with the government’s ambition to increase local dairy production by 25% by 2030. In 2019, the local production of dairy products in Ivory Coast amounted to 34,000 tonnes of milk equivalent, covering only 17% of the domestic market’s needs, estimated to be over 200,000 tonnes of milk equivalent.
Data released by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) indicates a significant gap between supply and demand, leading to a 36% year-on-year increase in dairy product imports in 2021. The volume of imports reached 38,000 tonnes, valued at 74.4 billion CFA francs ($122 million).
FrieslandCampina recognized West Africa as a region of interest in its ten-year strategy, route 2020, back in 2010. The company aimed to expand its dairy product offerings and increase its geographical presence to achieve growth. In 2021, FrieslandCampina partnered with the Ivorian government to enhance local milk production in Ivory Coast by providing technology and knowledge support.
The partnership aimed to gradually reduce the country’s reliance on imports and improve the incomes of pastoralists by integrating them into the dairy value chain. As a result, both parties agreed to establish the Dutch Center for Dairy Expertise in Ivory Coast.
Research has shown that the demand for dairy products in West Africa has been steadily increasing over the past decade, prompting many countries in the region to develop local industries and reduce dependence on imports. Irish exports of dairy ingredients to West Africa have experienced substantial growth in recent years, with Irish suppliers establishing a strong presence in the dairy ingredients market.
Factors such as economic growth and rising incomes in West Africa have contributed to the population’s increased purchasing power for imported dairy products. However, the diversity of local dairy products, which hold significant cultural value in West African countries, is under threat due to imports from other nations. This is primarily attributed to rapid urbanization, insufficient public support for local production chains, and intense international competition from low-cost milk powder imports.
The establishment of the Dutch Center for Dairy Expertise in Ivory Coast by FrieslandCampina and the Ivorian government is expected to address these challenges. The center will serve as a hub for knowledge sharing, technology transfer, and capacity building in the Ivorian dairy sector. By leveraging FrieslandCampina’s expertise and experience, the center aims to enhance local milk production, improve product quality, and strengthen the competitiveness of the Ivorian dairy industry.
The collaboration between FrieslandCampina and the Ivorian government demonstrates a commitment to sustainable development in the dairy sector, aiming to create a more self-sufficient and resilient dairy industry in Ivory Coast. The efforts to reduce import dependency, empower local producers, and preserve the cultural heritage of West African dairy products will contribute to the overall economic growth and food security in the region.
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