BUSI­NESS Se­prod craf ting pri­vate-pub­lic milk part­ner­ship

Tar­get: 20 mil­lion litres

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS - Tameka Gor­don Busi­ness Re­porter

SERGE IS­LAND Dairies, a sub­sidiary of Se­prod Limited, says it is on tar­get to grow its milk pro­duc­tion to 7.4 mil­lion litres this year. That would put it in com­mand of nearly 60 per cent of the lo­cal mar­ket, which out­puts 12-13 mil­lion litres an­nu­ally. But Se­prod has even big­ger am­bi­tions: to get na­tional out­put to 20 mil­lion litres by 2020. Se­prod chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Richard Pan­do­hie told Gleaner Busi­ness that the com­pany is now craft­ing a plan to sub­mit to Govern­ment for a pri­vate-pub­lic part­ner­ship. “We are putting a pro­gramme to­gether to go to the govern­ment, to show them how we can do this,” Pan­do­hie said. Last year, Serge pro­duced ap­prox­i­mately 6.5 mil­lion litres of milk, a yield sig­nif­i­cantly im­pacted by the drought. But a re­cent in­vest­ment of $220 mil­lion in irrigation at the St Thomas-based dairy op­er­a­tion will al­low the com­pany to meet its tar­get for 2016, Pan­do­hie said. “In the mean­time, the in­crease in pro­duc­tion has come from hav­ing the abil­ity to grow our feed our­selves,” he said, while also giv­ing credit to the net­work of small farm­ers from whom the com­pany pur­chases milk for the im­proved out­look. Milk pro­duc­tion from the small

farm­ers has also gone up by 30-40 per cent this year so far, he said.

“A num­ber of them have dou­bled their herd pro­duc­tion be­cause there seems to be a re­newed in­ter­est in the dairy sec­tor,” said Pan­do­hie.

Serge is sup­plied with milk from sev­eral par­ishes, in­clud­ing St El­iz­a­beth and St Cather­ine.

“That was the main rea­son for the in­crease,” he said.

But: “We can do so much more,” he added. “The in­dus­try just could not com­pete when the lib­er­al­i­sa­tion of milk-pow­der hap­pened. It shows you the op­por­tu­nity that we have to get back to where we were,” he said.

HALF­WAY BACK

The lib­er­al­i­sa­tion hap­pened more than two decades ago. Pan­do­hie’s plan to get to 20 mil­lion litres of milk in four years would still put the in­dus­try half­way back to its 1994 per­for­mance when out hit 39 mil­lion litres.

Se­prod’s own herds yield eight litres per cow per day, but that should in­crease to 11 litres per cow per day with im­prove­ments to the irrigation sys­tem, the com­pany said.

Se­prod also in­vested $15 mil­lion in its com­mu­nity farm­ing pro­grammes to en­hance

OC­TO­BER 30, 2016 Richard Pan­do­hie, CEO of Se­prod Limited.

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