Dairy producer Lactalis South Africa (SA) has invested R140 million in a new evaporator dryer power plant facility at its cheese manufacturing plant in Bonnievale in the Western Cape.  The official opening ceremony was attended by the provincial MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Mireille Wenger, MEC for Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, and the Mayor of Bonnievale, Alderman Schalk van Eeden.

Lactalis South Africa’s Bonnievale factory is one of the biggest cheese factories on the African continent and currently provides employment to 800 employees.

“This investment further demonstrates the continued commitment by Group Lactalis to strengthen its business in South Africa. We remain focused on finding innovative business solutions that enable the production of high-quality food products while creating employment and making a difference in the communities in which we operate,” says Alban Damour, General Manager of Lactalis Southern Africa.

The purpose of the evaporator dryer plant is to efficiently remove water from milk to produce a dry powder that has a longer shelf life, is easily transportable and can be used in a variety of applications. The drying process is carefully controlled to ensure that the dried milk powder is of high quality and standard.

Speaking at the ceremony, MEC for Economic Development for the Western Cape, Mireille Wenger said that South Africa and especially the Western Cape, is brimming with possibility. But the key to unlocking this potential lies in the actions taken to enable and support investments and businesses like Lactalis South Africa.

“The Western Cape Government is deeply committed to working with Lactalis SA to make it as easy as possible to do business here, so we can continue to thrive and expand, boosting economic growth and supporting more jobs for the residents of the Western Cape and of South Africa,” said Wenger.

Also speaking at the event was MEC for Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer who welcomed the investment, saying that it creates business and consumer confidence. “Agriculture is the most dominant sector in the five districts of the Western Cape. It drives the economy and creates jobs. The agriculture sector was the largest contributing subsector in the primary sector, contributing 8.7% of Cape Winelands District GDPR in 2020. Between 2016 and 2020, agriculture had an average growth rate of 0.9%.  This launch supports this growth rate and the Western Cape Government’s goal to inspire hope through growth and jobs,” he said.

Commenting on behalf of Group Lactalis, Diego Puerta, Senior Vice President for Asia, Oceania and Africa Region, reinforced the commitment that the multinational company has made to the country. “We invest millions into South Africa annually because we believe in this country. We will continue to invest and find solutions to enable us to do business in South Africa.”

The new evaporator dryer plant will significantly boost skimmed milk production capacity. Skimmed Milk Powder (SMP) is a versatile ingredient that is used in a range of food products. These include baked goods, confectionery, dairy products, and processed foods. It is also used as a nutritional supplement and contains essential nutrients such as protein and calcium.

Source: Lactalis South Africa