KENYA – Bidco Land O’Lakes, the joint venture business between Bidco Africa and American company Land O’Lakes, has commenced the construction of a KSh 1 billion (US$10 million) animal feed plant in Nakuru, Kenya.

The new plant ‘will boost production capacity, give us ability to produce new, high quality and innovative animal feeds products’, said the company on its Twitter feed in early February.

The new plant will be ready by early 2019.

The new investment could provide the company with capacity to meet rising local demand in Kenya where the company’s sales have been focused, into the East Africa market, where the company has high aspirations.

“With more space and better equipment, the business can tackle a growing demand for different kinds of feed, including value-added products and more best-in-class formulas from our Land O’Lakes catalogue,” said Land O’Lakes in the blog post in January.

“With nearly 450 million people, these are large markets that will continue to grow rapidly and where more middle-income consumers are being added every day because of strong economic growth throughout the region,” Jerry Kaminski, Land O’Lakes executive vice president and chief operating officer of International Business said in the blog post.

The Bidco Land O’Lakes investment adds to Land O’Lakes’ focus on Africa, where Land O’Lakes International Development, a nonprofit affiliated with Land O’Lakes, has been laying the groundwork for dairy industry growth in Kenya for over 20 years.

“This work has primed the industry for the next phase – commercialization and private sector investment,” says the company, of its previous involvement in the region’s dairy value chain, where it expects that the demand for animal feed products will rise, driven by changing consumer habits, and rising incomes and urbanisation.

“We know from experience that the demand for animal protein products (milk, meat, eggs) in Kenya and East Africa will continue to grow.

Bidco Land O’Lakes can take a leadership position by leveraging our world class animal feed capabilities from the United States to help East African farmers produce more, high quality products,” the company revealed in the blog post.

The company has revealed that Bidco Land O’Lakes sales have more than doubled since the signing of the joint venture in 2016.

The company says that commercialisation of dairy farming, where on 5% are commercial ventures, will change with ‘more Kenyan farmers are seeing opportunities in commercializing their dairy businesses.’

Land O’Lakes bought a controlling interest 52.2% stake in Villa Crop Protection, A South African company in 2015, its first commercial foray into Africa.