Kenya's Brookside acquires Ugandan dairy firm in expansion drive

Brookside Dairy Limited has taken over operations of leading Uganda dairy operator Sameer Agriculture and Livestock Limited (SALL), making it the first major acquisition by the Ruiru-based processor outside Kenya's borders.

Brookside Director of Milk Procurement John Gethi told a farmers' field day in Rushere, western Uganda, that the processor had taken over management of SALL's contracted farmers and assets, including production of its fresh dairy products, which are the market leaders in Uganda.

However, Mr Gethi, declined to reveal to journalists the transaction details of the take-over, including the value of the acquisition, instead only emphasising that the take-over would immensely benefit farmers in Uganda.

"Since we moved in three months ago, dairy farmers in Uganda have received a total of USh20 billion (Sh667 million) from milk deliveries made to us. The payout reflects a 100 per cent increase over a similar period last year," he said.

He said Brookside was committed to working with Uganda farmers to ensure milk production was consistent throughout the year, through application of modern herd improvement methods and investment in proper animal feed management.

Scores of farmers from key milk sheds in western Uganda such as Masaka, Mbarara and Rushere attended the field day. Various stakeholders in the dairy sector, including animal feed manufacturers, veterinary practitioners and commercial banks, also participated in the field day.

"The spirit of East Africa holds us together to work as one people. That explains why we have prioritised farmer empowerment in Uganda to encourage growth of the dairy enterprise in the entire region," Gethi said.

Major upgrade

He said Brookside would undertake a major upgrade of milk cooling and processing facilities in Uganda to ensure that production capacity matched expected increases in raw milk volumes.

The Deputy District Commissioner for Kiruhura district, Reuben Katemba, who represented the Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Bright Rwamirama, commended Brookside for its farmer empowerment initiatives in Uganda.

"We appreciate that Brookside has chosen to work with both the Uganda government and stakeholder groups to grow dairy farming in the country," Mr Katemba said.

He challenged farmers especially in the Ankole region to invest in commercial dairy farming to ensure regular incomes for their families.