Farm Ireland

Friday 15 December 2017

Nigerian market opens up for Irish processed milk

Ornua bid for slice of €455m milk power sales

Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Ireland will be selling 45 million litres of milk in the form of 20g powder sachets in Nigeria within the next five years, according to Ornua.

The predictions come as the company opened a new €2m packing facility in the country's capital, Lagos, last week.

Ornua, formerly the Irish Dairy Board, has been on a major drive to find new markets for the extra one billion litres of milk coming on stream since quotas ended.

It comes as Teagasc forecast a slow recovery in the first half of next year with milk prices predicted to rise from an average of 30c/l this year to 31.5c/l next year.

Ornua's Lagos facility, which is a joint venture with a large distribution company called Fareast Mercantile Company (FMC), will repackage 25kg bags of full cream powder into 20g packs under the Kerrygold brand.

The sachet format is very popular in Nigeria, with an estimated 100,000t of milk powder sold annually in these packs.

Nigeria is Africa's most populous country with a population of 185 million and its market for milk powder products was worth €455m last year.


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Ornua's Lago plant opening was one of 40 different engagements attended by Agriculture Minister, Simon Coveney on last week's trade mission to Nigeria and Ghana.

Deals worth up to €45m have been signed, with one of the 45 companies on the trip entering discussions with global distribution company, Transcorp, on plans to roll out Burger King chains across the African Continent, in a deal that "could be worth hundreds of millions" according to Mr Coveney.

"Nigeria is totally under appreciated as a place to do business. It's probably going to grow faster than anywhere in the world," he said.

Ornua's chief executive, Kevin Lane said the facility was an "important step" in the company's plans in Africa.

"People don't really know what fresh milk is like here," explained Ornua's Africa manager, Bruce Denyer. "So our biggest single line is small 20g sachets of cream powder. People use it on their breakfast cereal, and in their hot drinks."

Ornua has seen its sales of powdered cream rocket in the space of two years from 90t a year to 1,500t this year.

"This is probably the single biggest market in the world for this product after China, and we've set ourselves a goal of selling 6,000t of this line within five years. It might sound like a lot but it's actually only 6pc of the total market here," he said.

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