Kenya’s Unga Group mulls soya meal production line, banks on new wheat plant to drive growth

KENYA – Unga Group Limited, a major grain miller in Kenya, has unveiled plans of setting up a soya meal production line in its Nairobi plant as it seeks to grow its investments in the grains and milling sector.

The Seaboard-backed grain miller recently commissioned a new state-of-the art wheat milling plant in Eldoret with a 300-tonne daily milling capacity and a storage silo with a capacity of 15,000 tonnes in a bid to grow its production capacity.

Commissioned in mid-December last year, the Eldoret plant is expected to more than double the millers’ current production capacity.

The investment is expected to further rise competition in the sector, with the miller projecting to register lower profitability amid a more difficult financial year.

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“With the prevailing depressed demand and increased competition in the flour-milling business, the 2018/19 financial year is expected to be difficult and less profitable,” said Unga Group in its financial report last year.

In addition, Unga group major competitors, Capwell Industries, commissioned a wheat milling plant which is now processing wheat flour under the brand name of Soko.

According to a Business Daily report, Capwell has invested US$10 million (Sh1 billion) in its wheat flour plant since it embarked on an expansion drive that has seen it introduce more products in the market.

Among the major competitors in the sector include Nairobi Flour Mills Limited, Alpha Grain Millers, Bakex Millers Limited and Bakhresa Grain Milling Kenya Ltd.

Relief to animal feed manufactures

The Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) in the country is also set to release 300 000 bags of maize to animal feed manufactures in a move aimed at easing shortage of feed and lower retail prices that has hit a three-year high.

This follows a recent meeting between the Ministry of Agriculture and the manufacturers who reached an agreement to issue the consignment of grade four maize held at different depots across the country to tame the rising cost of feeds.

“We met with the officials from the ministry last week and they have agreed to release 300,000 bags of maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board towards manufacturing of animal feeds.

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This will play a major role in lowering the current cost,” affirms Joseph Karuri, chairperson of the Association of Kenya Feeds Manufacturers (Akefema).

Additionally, Mr Karuri said, the government had agreed to allow them import yellow maize duty free in order to reduce reliance on white maize.

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