Denmark-based dairy company Arla Foods has opened a new milk powder production facility in Dakar, Senegal, to further its expansion in West Africa.
The new plant, which was inaugurated on 17 May, has an annual capacity of 5,000 tons of milk powder made in Europe from the milk of Arla's farmer owners.
The 14,000m2 Dakar plant will re-pack fat filled milk powder and instant whole milk powder into several retail-sized packaging such as foil sachets.
Arla Sub Sahara Africa head Steen Hadsbjerg said: "The facility is the latest milestone in Arla's ambition to actively take part in developing the dairy market in West Africa and providing affordable nutrition of high quality to consumers in the region.
"It will also contribute with jobs as we will initially employ 20 people in the production and more as we grow the sales and thereby also the production volume."
The packets from the plant will initially be distributed to wholesalers and stores in Senegal by Arla's Dakar-based partner Agroline. Later, the packets will be supplied to other neighboring countries.
Steen Hadsbjerg said: "Agroline has a very strong ambient and chilled distribution setup across Senegal. Senegal will be our hub for expanding into Mali and also Mauretania with our products. Depending on capacity we expect to launch in Mali later this year."
Arla already sells Dano long-life liquid milk in Senegal and the company intends to introduce a full value-added product range in the region.
Apart from its retail business, Arla had signed a mozzarella agreement with Yum-Yum, a local pizza chain in Senegal, in March 2016.
Senegal is believed to play an important role as a transit country for milk powder imported in Mali, Burkina Faso and other countries.