Dairy Industry in Jamaica Gets a Boost; Seprod’s Bog Walk Plant Commissioned

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Seprod, the Jamaican dairy major, has commissioned the Serge Island Dairy unit that it acquired from Nestle. The plant was inaugurated by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in the presence of Audley Shaw, the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries. The company has entered into contracts with Nestle to underwrite the production at this facility. Once fully operational, the Serge Island Dairy plant will be busy making different dairy products under its own brand name as well as for Nestle. More contracts are in the pipeline, according to the company.

An Integrated Plant in St. Catherine

Seprod has closed its other facility in St. Thomas and created an integrated facility at Serge Island, St. Catherine and the company says it has spent $7 billion on revamping the factory, bringing in new equipment and setting up production lines. Seprod hopes to get the plant running to three full shifts and it feels it will have enough orders on hand, including its own captive production, to keep it running. Ultimately, production units have to keep running if the fixed costs are to be recovered.

Marketing Arrangements with Three Nestle Entities

Seprod has signed contracts with three companies: Nestlé Jamaica Limited, Nestlé Trinidad and Nestlé Caribbean Incorporated. Under these agreements, Seprod’s production in the Serge Island Dairy unit will be marketed by Nestle. The markets serviced will be Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean countries. Going forward, the companies are looking to export the products to other major markets as well.

Other Interesting Developments

Some of the other details shared with the media by the top management of Seprod during the Dairy plant commissioning included the employment potential. When the plant goes into the three-shifts mode, it can employ up to 600 people, up from the current strength of 300. Then, there is a separate project, in association with Tetra Pak, where farmers are being co-opted by incentivising them to produce more milk. Investments by Seprod will be in terms of cold storage etc. which will then be adjusted against the milk supplied by the farmers to the dairy. This is a pan-Jamaica project aiming to triple the milk production from 20 million litres to 60 million litres.

The products to be made by Seprod include Nestlé Full Cream Condensed Milk and Nestlé Green Butterly Milk. The latter is a product Nestle will sell outside Jamaica. Though Seprod has not disclosed the other brands it is in negotiations with, these are supposed to be companies based out of Latin America.

These developments augur well for the Jamaican economy.

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