Humansdorp’s Woodlands Dairy has boosted production to stake a place in South Africa’s competitive dairy industry.
Thanks to a considerable investment to expand its operations and boost competitiveness, the producer has almost doubled its ultra-high temperature (UHT) milk output. Woodlands Dairy sources its milk from dairy farms around Tsitsikamma, Alexandria and Craddock in the Eastern Cape.
The company’s general manager of human resources, Richard Hutton, says this expansion was made possible by MCEP.
“We needed funding and it was a logical way to go for us to increase our production capacity. Previously we had machinery that packed 6,000 litres of milk an hour. The funds from MCEP have allowed us to upsize to machinery that packs at 15,000 litres an hour.”
This investment helped Woodlands Dairy add two new production lines, each manned by 14 people.
“We run a four-shift system, so that amounts to approximately 100 extra people or jobs that have been created,” Hutton says.
“To the dti I would like to say ‘thank you’. You have not only helped the company grow but also created employment for a lot of people in Humansdorp that would not have had the opportunity to get jobs. It’s great for the Eastern Cape Province and it’s great for South Africa.”
Started predominantly as a UHT packaging plant for long-life milk in 1995, the dairy now employs more than 800 people – it’s the biggest employer in Humansdorp – and has diversified its products to include custard, jelly, butter, cheese, milk powder and fermented milk, amasi.
“We package our products under the First Choice brand. In addition we contract-pack for Spar, Nestlé and Woolworths. We export into Africa, mainly long-life milk,” Hutton says.
“If you look at our company vision it says we aspire to be the most admired dairy company in Africa, so we are planning big things. This is our way forward.”