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Dairy firm invests $1,6m to boost production

A leading dairy company, Prodairy, has invested $1,6 million in one of its farming projects, which will see its operating capacity hitting 75% by year end.
Prodairy, a subsidiary of Probrands, partnered foreign private equity firm Subsahara Capital and Sean Webster, a consultant, last month to boost its Mafuro Farming project.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

The company has the capacity to produce three million litres of its daily products per month, but is only operating at 55% capacity and generating 1,5 million to 1,6 million litres from 700 000 litres of raw milk.

Probrands MD Calum Philp told journalists during a tour of the Prodairy plant in Ruwa on Friday that they formed the partnership with Subsahara Capital and Webster to help boost their operating capacity.

“The total capital that has been invested in Mafuro is $1,6 million and that investment includes 400 milk-producing heifers as well as the equipment required to make sure it is a successful farm where a big part of that is irrigation,” he said.

“So, its irrigation and milking equipment and the total of that is about $1,6 million.

“The heifers are currently in quarantine and are in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

“The first payments have been made for a lot of the equipment.

“We are waiting for Reserve bank support for the importing of the heifers, which we are currently engaged with them…to bring in a heifer you are looking at least at $1 700 to land it in the country.”

Philp said a heifer would produce 20 litres of milk a day and 600 litres a month, which would increase the current levels of raw milk they used per month across all their dairy products, translating to increased capacity.

The Mafuro Farming project will be focused on pasture-based farming to rely more on grass feed than the traditional feeds used for milk-producing cattle in order to reduce costs of producing dairy products.

Philp said as it stood, 1kg of traditional feed was equal to one litre of milk.

“If you perfect pasture farming, which is what we are doing, we believe we can get the feed in to 300 grams per litre of milk, that is one-third,” he said.

“Your biggest cost of producing milk is feed and we are reducing the biggest cost by two-thirds, it is a significant move.”

Prodairy is a subsidiary of the Probrands group launched after Probrands and Probottlers in 2009 and 2013, respectively, at the beginning of the year.

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