Why we are passionate about our identity as corporate citizen – Rahul Colaco


Rahul Colaco… during the interractive session

The equity increase to nearly 68 per cent in FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria PLC undertaken recently by its parent company, Royal FrieslandCampina, has been regarded as another demonstration of commitment to serve, especially loyal consumers better, and Nigerians in general.

During the celebration of its six decades of operation in the country last May, Managing Director of FrieslandCampina WAMCO, Rahul Colaco, at an interface session with journalists, had attributed the success of the company to two things: The focus to consistently nourish Nigerians with quality dairy nutrition in order to reach their peak as well as the strength to continually explore ways of standing out of the crowded shelf and touching every part of the consumers’ lives.

The equity increase from 54.58 to 67.61 per cent translating to 13.03 percent of the shares for a total consideration of approximately 180 million Euros to be injected into the operation in Nigeria finds a rhythm with the second point reflecting the company’s philosophy of consolidating its feat as the market leader.

Speaking on the increment, CEO of Royal FrieslandCampina, Roelof Joosten had said: “The size of the market, the growth outlook and the commitment of the Nigerian people to bolstering the stability and economy of the country are the reasons why FrieslandCampina will continue to invest in its subsidiary FrieslandCampina WAMCO.”

The company has been a key player in Nigeria since 1954. The Nigerian Peak brand is one of the key brands in FrieslandCampina’s portfolio and enjoys iconic status in Nigeria.

FrieslandCampinaWAMCO Nigeria produces, packages, markets and distributes a large variety of dairy products and is a major force in fast-moving consumer goods in the country.

Besides Peak, its leading brands are Three Crowns and Friso. “We are very much a part of Nigeria, and we have a rich history. If you look at the product-line, we have had much product innovation over the years, Three Crowns launched in 1958 after Peak Milk in 1954, ever since, the face of innovation has been increasing, you look at the Gold, the Choco, evaporated milk as well as the powder.

We are clearly the market leader in evaporated milk with a wide range of propositions; different sizes and flavours,” Colaco said. He noted that the company would continue to maintain its status as the nation’s leading milk manufacturing outlet by investing in its people, capacity expansion projects in addition to being an excellent corporate citizen.

He continued, “Our mission is nourishing Nigerian families with quality dairy nutrition, and I think it’s fair to say that we feed Nigerians.

We are here to do business but at the same time, we need to do well in society. So, everything that we do has a focus in terms of social and environmental responsibility.”

Although, the daily need of fresh and quality milk by Nigerians is voluminous, response of FrieslandCampina WAMCO to this challenge, he asserted, has been phenomenal and promising.

“Obviously, there is not much local fresh milk produced in Nigeria, and it is our ambition to contribute significantly in enhancing that in the coming years. We have been investing more on bringing world standard to Nigeria.

The demand in Nigeria is seven to eight hundred million litres of milk per day; unfortunately the local supply is hardly three to four million.

“In August 2010, we started with a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Agriculture in this country, with the intention to accelerate the development of local dairy to focus both on quality and quantity of fresh milk through our Dairy Development Programme (DDP).

We have invested in milk tankers, milk collection centres, we have been training people, providing water. To us, it is not just about producing milk but also about creating self-sustaining communities. The maintenance of the dairy farm is a twenty four by seven job, you cannot take holidays.

There is a bit of seasonality in milk production when the cows are milking, other than that, it requires some rigour and discipline. “We have a lot of experience as the parent company has been in dairy farming for one hundred and forty years, so we believe we have the experience to kick-start this in Nigeria and we hope we would be able to continue this with the new government.”

The MD singled out inflation and unemployment as key challenges as “consumers are beginning to change their habit. The dairy market has been slow in the recent times, but we are positive, for us the future is bright.”

On what informed the powerful and highly emotional communication mix on all media platforms to mark the 60th anniversary, Colaco said, “the message of Peak via the campaign (which is still running) is to bring back good feeling of how the brand has been a good part of our lives and how in the pursuit of excellence, we have used cans of Peak to bring to life our imagination and to fuel our dreams.

It also shows the brand’s commitment to feeding the aspirations of future consumers.” The marketing philosophy, he insisted, “is to reach out to every segment of the society by offering different products for consumers; some may want powder while others, evaporated, the key for us is understanding the need of the consumers; what they want, what they are willing to pay for it, and provide it for them.

We spend a lot of time doing consumer engagements; reaching out to consumers across the country, understanding their living conditions or challenges and nutritional needs and we try and design products to suit those needs.”

On how devaluation of Naira since the beginning of 2015 is affecting the company, he said “ last year was challenging, we saw increased cost of dairy materials, which we did not fully pass on to consumers, there was also increased competitor activity, the naira devaluation was also reflected in the results for last year.

Everything we do at the company is socially responsible, that is a very important part of our philosophy.” He expressed mixed feeling about the challenge of insecurity in the Northeast which has curtailed consumers in that region access to their darling brand. He however commended the progress in tackling the problem.

Colaco is optimistic that the present government’s focus on agriculture to drive the economy will find a dependable partner in FrieslandCampina WAMCO with its DDP empowering dairy farmers nationwide to run their businesses optimally and bring production to a higher volume and quality.

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