Seprod aims to make dairy farming comeback with new merger

Observer staff reporter

Friday, May 31, 2019

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IN Seprod's 79th year of operation, the company has decided to merge its Serge Island Dairy processing plant in Seaforth, St Thomas and the recently acquired dairy-processing plant in Bogwalk, St Catherine into a single operation called Serge Dairies.

The launch was held in Bybrook in Bog Walk on Tuesday, May 28.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw commended the partnership and said it is a source of great inspiration.

“You haven't just bought a facility, you have creatively bought a facility and created a partnership in which you are setting the stage that —with the participation of small farmers — we can rebuild the dairy industry. I applaud this partnership,” Shaw said at the launch.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness also celebrated the merger and said it was no a small feat to place a capital of $7 billion at risk.

With the new partnership, Serge Dairies is now the largest-single dairy operation in the English-speaking Caribbean and the investment is said to position Serge Dairies to ramp up production and increase both exports and imports substitution.

Seprod's products are currently found in 23 markets across the globe, primarily in the Caribbean.

Over the last five years, the investment into the company was aimed at upgrading the factory with state-of the art manufacturing and packaging technology, investing in and expanding the Serge Island Dairy Farm in Seaforth, St Thomas, acquiring the dairy-processing plant in Bog Walk (formerly owned by Nestlé), and amalgamating the dairy-processing facilities into what is now Serge Dairies in Bog Walk, St Catherine.

The investment should allow for growth in the dairy business exponentially through innovation and exports with growth targets in excess of 15% per annum.

The Bog Walk plant will fulfill a significant portion of Caribbean Community (Caricom) demand in the condensed, evaporated and flavoured milks and juice categories, leading to increased exports and increased co-manufacturing services. Caricom is considered Seprod's domestic market.

Seprod also has a signed deal to manufacture Green Butterfly Condensed Milk for Nestle Global for regional distribution. That partnership will hopefully position Seprod as the supplier of choice in the Caribbean for sweetened condensed milk.

Quality assurance manager, Sasha Evans, said that Seprod is committed to providing quality products and to do so by assessing several products each day.

“In the quality assurance lab we perform approximately 42 different analyses and on a daily basis we would analyse anywhere between 7000-10000 samples.

“That is about one per cent of the entire production for the day and that would be across three shifts. We have to ensure that the products that we produce are of good quality and safe for consumption,” Evans said.

Seprod purchased the dairy-processing factory in Bog Walk three years ago from Nestlé Jamaica, which ceased its manufacturing operations in the island.


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