The original site was smaller and had less advanced technology. The expanded mill, which is located in Nakuru, is fully automated to ensure accuracy in production and reduce the chance of human error. It is about giving Kenyan farmers products designed to help them deliver on quality and performance, said the two companies.
Bidco Africa, operating in Kenya since 1985, established a joint venture in 2016 with Land O'Lakes Inc.
Dan Moran, senior director of livestock marketing, Purina Mills, a subsidiary of Land O’Lakes. Inc, said Kenya's growth potential was a real enticement for the US firm to partner with Bidco over three years ago.
“In Africa, we were looking for a place where we could use our knowledge, our technology and our experience. In the US, we are a feed company, an agronomy company and a milk processor – and we want to take all that [expertise] and use it in other places.
“If we’re successful in helping change the industry [in Kenya], and we can get the plant close to capacity in the next two to three years, we would then look at expanding into the surrounding countries such as Tanzania and Uganda," he told this publication.
At full production, the expanded facility will be able to produce more than 28 metric tons an hour, Land O’Lakes reported.
The plant now includes an onsite lab to test for feed quality issues including mycotoxin presence or amino acid and protein levels.
Also introduced into the revamped factory is pelletizing equipment; the plant has crumbled feed production capabilities also.
“Pelleting and crumbing is one key part [along with] the ability to add liquids, whether it’s molasses or energy products or oils or, someday down the road, probiotics,” said Moran.
The companies said that, in addition to Bidco Feeds brand, the plant has added new Land O’Lakes Advanced Nutrition products to target progressive livestock producers whose focus is high animal performance and productivity. The JV will introduce four new products: Pro Calf Starter, Pro Heifer Developer, Pig Starter 4-4-4 and Pro Calf Milk Replacer, with other products to follow soon.
"We’ve data from the US to show that producers can get 1,000 pounds more milk if you raise the calf right," said Moran.
The JV has been working to address animal nutrition and management practices in Kenya as well, exploring the key areas of genetics, health, management and nutrition. The genetic potential of animals in the Kenyan market is under-exploited, stressed Moran.