NAMIBIA – Namib Mills Ltd, the largest grain processing company in Namibia has opened a new state-of-the-art bakery plant, situated North Windhoek worth N$134.6m (US$9.2m).

The plant has enabled the company to expand its processing capacity with the launch of a new brand of bread, Bakpro Superior Loaves, as it seeks to cement its market share in the country’s bakery sector.

The new plant referred to as travelling plant employs world class-technology and it is automated, running the entire process of mixing, fermenting, baking and packaging.

Despite the baking process being fully automated and sterile requiring no human contact, the new venture has created 120 new jobs along the entire production line of these, 20 are upskilled and trained to work in the plant, a first for Namibia.

The most expensive components of the plant is a N$7 million (US$0.47m) cooling tower. By controlling the cooling process over a set period of time, the quality of the loaf is determined, as well as extending its shelf life which sets a superior loaf apart from a regular loaf of bread.

According to Namib Mills’ senior brand manager, Marne Bouwer, “This is particularly important for those Namibians who do not have access to fresh bread on a daily basis. The superior loaf not only lasts longer on the shelf, staying fresh for days, but freezes exceptionally well.”

Bouwer explained that Namibians love their bread, and research performed by Namib Mills shows that around 90 million loaves are sold every year.

Namib Mills is targeting a maximum of 25 million of these with the first phase of the bakery producing 4 500 loaves every hour.

The new bread is presented in either 600g white or brown bread with a bumper 20 slices per loaf, or the 700g superior white or brown bread loaf with bigger portions of 18 slices per loaf.

In a bid to offer the consumer the best product on the market, the labelling also includes a breakdown of the ingredients and the energy value of the bread.

Over the past decade, Namib Mills has created 1 010 new jobs, and has invested roughly N$1.3 billion (US$88.9m) into the local economy.

It produces flour, pasta, animal feeds and other products from raw materials including maize, much of which is imported, and local varieties of pearl millet (mahangu).

Its main milling facility is located in the capital, Windhoek and it has two others in Otavi and Katima Mulilo. It uses the brand name Meme Mahangu to market some of its products.