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By NBF News
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By Babajide Komolafe
Nigerians should not sacrifice milk for the consumption of other goods in order to adjust to the decline in spending power due to rising inflation, says Mr. Bob Steetskamp, Managing Director/Chief Executive FrieslandCampina WAMCO.

'Milk is the food with highest nutrient density. So if you have less money to spend buy milk ', he said.

FrieslandCampina WAMCO  recorded  16 per cent growth in net sales, which rose to  N104.9 billion for the year December 31st 2011, from N90.3 billion in 2010.

The company also recorded   profit before tax (PBT)  of  N13.9 billion,  and  profit after taxation (PAT) of   N9.9 billion. Consequently, the company paid a dividend of  N20.31 per share to shareholders at the 39th annual general meeting (AGM) held recently in Lagos

Addressing journalists at the post AGM luncheon of the company, Steetskamp said that the reduction in fuel subsidy has reduced the spending power of the Nigerian household by about 10 per cent. He said  this reduction  should  however not make households to sacrifice milk for the consumption of other goods.

'The major challenge is the buying power for the  Nigerian household. When you look at January, on  a  year-on-year basis, food inflation is between 25 to 30 percent and that makes the food more expensive for Nigeria consumers. If you look at the effect of the reduction of fuel subsidy and that now has reduced the spending of  Nigerian consumers by about 10 percents.

'When you look at the balance year on year, a Nigeria consumer has 25 percent less spending power  on foods. Now, you that about two third of the population lives on less than $1 per day. Now if you have only 200 naira to spend a day on food, then you have to be critical, then you have to  make a selection and that  would depend on how bullish is your need to have milk in that basket. So we have to  to motivate Nigerian consumers to make  milk a higher priority.

'Milk is the food with highest nutrient density. So if you have less money to spend buy milk . Therefore, we launch just few weeks ago this 'Drink More Milk' campaign, to motivate Nigerian consumers to drink milk  everyday because it is very good for their nutrient.

He said FrieslandCampina WAMCO, as the  leading manufacturer in the Nigerian dairy market  is fully committed to the development of local milk production capacity in Nigeria. 'Currently, the Company buys fresh milk from Shonga dairies in Kwara State and Fulani farmers in various communities in Oyo State for part of its production, the statement revealed.

'Furthermore, under a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FrieslandCampina WAMCO set up several projects, which over a few years, should yield a significant part of its raw milk needs, and reduce its reliance on imported milk powder. This will go a long way to increase the Company's local content, he said.