Ugandan dairy processor Pearl Dairy nears completion of honey processing factory

UGANDA – Pearl Dairy Farms, Uganda’s largest dairy processor has revealed that its honey processing facility is 90% complete and will be commissioned beginning of April.

The producer of Lato Milk brand announced its diversification from the dairy industry last year, revealing that it will invest more than Ush10 bn (US$2.7m) into commercial honey production.

The move is in a bid to create an additional revenue stream, given the challenges that are facing the country’s milk sector of not accessing most East Africa Community markets.

The program is also undertaken in collaboration with the dairy farmers who were left in their own mercies after the recent bans of Uganda’s milk exports to Kenya and Rwanda.

According to reports by Daily Monitor, Pearl Dairies plans to create about 4,000 job opportunities along the value chain with the honey processing project.

“The factory is 90 per cent completed. The final equipment that we imported from Italy arrived a few days ago, so we are very close to having the factory commissioned.

“We expect to commission it either by the end of March or beginning of April,” Mr Michael Van den Berg, head of dairy and apiculture development said without revealing the investment amount injected into the factory development.

The facility will have two production lines with one dedicated to organic honey primarily for export to Europe and another non-organic for the local market due to price variations.

Michael highlighted that Uganda has a 5,000-tonne export licence of honey to Europe that is still unutilised, a market that they are highly targeting as the region is the largest global consumer of honey, accounting for more than 20 per cent of the total world consumption.

“We expect to commission it either by the end of March or beginning of April.”

Mr Michael Van den Berg – Pearl Dairy Farms Head of dairy and apiculture development

Globally, honey is accepted as one of the most nutritious, healthy and natural foods packed with minerals, enzymes, vitamins and proteins.

According to a report by Zion Market Research, the global honey market was approximately US$ 7,678 million in 2018 and is expected to generate around US$ 10,336 million by 2025, at a CAGR of around 4.8% between 2019 and 2025.

The factory which is envisaged to produce 20 tonnes of honey per day is only expected to employ 10 people as Pearl Dairies says it is fully automated.

To ensure ample supply of the raw material to the factory, Pearl Dairies provided a total of 1,000 modern hives to about 200 farmers in its first phase of the pilot honey production through a revenue sharing model.

The African beekeeping sector has been experiencing a rise in investments with Premier Foods Limited, Kenyan producer of a wide range of condiments and juices, recently partnered with Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) to support the development of the country’s apiculture sector.

Prior to that, the African Development Bank in collaboration with the government of Guinea injected US$735,000 to improve honey production, build the competitiveness of the value chain and increase farmer’s income.

Koster Keunen, one of the world’s leading processors, refiners and marketers of natural waxes, having received a grant of almost US$2 million from USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub to organize and improve West Africa’s beekeeping supply chain to meet international standards for honey and beeswax.

Through the grant acquired, the firm will provide equipment, training, and new technologies, and will facilitate certifications for smallholders in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo.

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