Meat and dairy product Tycoon Speaks on first processing Plant in the Gambia
by Femi Peters
Kombo Dairy Farms having established in 2005 and was incorporated and registered in June,2007 ha two sites one a 73 hectares farm primarily for feed production and commercial farming located at Kuloro village in the western region and an eight hectares ranch in Banjulinding Village. Milk production was initiated in July 2009.
Kombo Dairy farms a limited liability company having attained a special Investment certificate from the Government of the Gambia and enjoys Zero percent tax rate and zero percent duty on all imported equipments for a period of five years.
Having close interview with The Agricultural Voice Newspaper, Sulayman Sait Mboob, the majority Share holder having 70% of the stake while other partners namely Ms Ida Mboob, Mr Biram Mboob and Mr Sait Mboob.
The Agricultural Voice: what prompted you to investing into Meat and dairy Product processing Industry?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: I invested into meat and dairy product processing in 2007 was basically to respond to the need for good quality meat in the Country and dairy product. As you are aware we consume a lot of dairy products such as imported UHT milk, yoghurt and according to statistics we have importing over 8 Million Dollars per annum over the years worth of dairy products. My purpose was to establish a company that is capable of providing safe quality dairy products to curtail on the importations and create employments for Gambians.
The Agricultural Voice: how many cows do use for milk production?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: we have 25 pure breed Holstein and jersey milking cows, a number of pure breed heifers and F1s.
The Agricultural Voice: what kind of equipments do you have in place?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: we have succeeded in establishing a modern dairy farm of international Agricultural Voices, this comprise a ranch in Banjulinding, where we have imported European pure breed milking cows as the local cows don’t produce milk in large commercial quantities. We have European Agricultural Voice milking equipments called a milking parlour for milking our cows because we don’t milk our cows by hand. We have put a supplier network in place, including suppliers for milking cows, machinery, spare parts, and packaging.
The Agricultural Voice: have you attained you target in respect to Milk Production?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: we are still at a very earlier stage, so we cannot say that we have can produce to substitute for imports but we would still get there. Hopeful in the nearest future we would able to produce milk to stop the importation of UHT milk products, powdered and cream (evaporated) milk.
The Agricultural Voice: Can you also process dairy by products like Cheese and Butters?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: Yes it is all possible, these are in our plans but right now we are in consultation with Potential partners to go into this area, to diver size our products but first of all our objective is to increase our production by addition of 28 more pure breed dairy cows for future expansion enough to produce UHT milk for the supermarket shelf.
The Agricultural Voice: what is the daily milk production capacity per cow?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: the Breeding herds produce a maximum of 20 litres per cow.
The Agricultural Voice: in terms of employment, how many people are on your payroll?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: Kombo farms employ over 40 Gambians
The Agricultural Voice: what is the safety precautions put in place during processing of Milk?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: Our Milking parlour put together by a Dutch company that also trained the staff and the Modern factory where the fermentation and pasteurization was setup by a French company who trained the staff on handling and safety regulations. we do have this measures put in place to ensure the safety of our staffs and products.
The Agricultural Voice: do you have a quality control laboratory on ground?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: we do have a quality control Laboratory where quality and Agricultural Voice of the products are checked and maintained, like for very batch produced is taken to the laboratory for checks before released for circulation. The dairy industry is a industry with its specific set of regulations that we have to adhere to strictly.
The Agricultural Voice: have you had any situation, a batch had been rejected by the laboratory?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: yes, it occurs at times. Like in a situation where the milking process which is automated from the milking parlour and is passed through pipes to the cooling tanks and if there is a break in power supply for a period of over three hours, this would compromise the quality of the milk which would affect the dairy products, so that batch would be rejected and discharged .temperature is a very important factor in milk and dairy production.|
The Agricultural Voice: Do you receive inspectors from the Ministry of Health on your facility from time to time?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: The ministry of health normally carries out certification of the facility at interval and also carries out health screens on the member of staff handling the processing. We also have our own inspectors who do this inspection all the time.
The Agricultural Voice: Who mans your quality control laboratory?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: we have Gambians trained to carry out tests and run this Laboratory.
The Agricultural Voice: what are your views on imported meat and dairy products?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: if you go to the supermarkets to buy a pack of sausages or ham which are imported which are normally cheaper that those from the Kombo Dairy Farm but if you read between the lines, you would notice that most of them are full of meat substitutes with small percent of pure beef, while those from the Kombo farms are made from 100% pure beef. So invariably you are not getting value for your money.
Another issue is the sales of frozen chicken parts on the streets or in the markets, frozen chicken have been subjected to certain conditions so this meats have been frozen in certain conditions so if sold off the counters the proper process of defrosting should be carried out to thaw the meat for cooking because if this products are dropped into hot water like is normally done, it losses most of its nutrients and appeal.
The Agricultural Voice: What are the major products produced by Kombo Dairy farms?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: we produce Fresh milk, fermented/ sour milk (SOOW) and yoghurt of different flavours and various beef products.
The Agricultural Voice: what are your plans on future expansion?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: we intend to increase pure breed herd population to 150 plus, upgrade factory to commence production of UHT long life milk, introduce tetra-pack packaging facilities to facilitate exports, introduce new products as milk volumes increase like cheese, butter, cream. These would all be placed on the position to take advantage of ECOWAS trade liberalization scheme duty waivers making exports to larger markets in the region like Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal a feasible proposition.
The Agricultural Voice: in what ways would you say Kombo dairy farms have contributed National Development?
Mr Sulayman Mboob: well, we have provided a service of production of fresh pasteurized milk, safe hygiene sour milk natural and sweet sealed in containers. The provision of employment, improving in agricultural production, undertaking rice production for feed sustenance, employing over 100 women during farming season, the only meat processing plant in the Country and the training of Gambians to provide quality control laboratories services.