Nestle Exports May Be Early

Five months after moving into the old Apsara milk factory, the Swiss food giant Nestle’s dairy project is ahead of schedule and ready to begin exports, a company executive said Thursday.

Nestle Business Development Manager Dominique Peterhans said the first shipment of 10,000 cases of sweetened condensed milk from the factory to Laos is set for sometime next month.

Peterhans said the company hopes to increase the size of the shipment to about 25,000 cases a month, part of which will also go to Burma.

Nestle took over the 28-year-old factory on Route 5 on May 1. Since then, the company has been upgrading and refurbishing the 5,500-square-meter plant, from the reception area to the factory floor. Peterhans said the process is slightly ahead of schedule, and should be complete by mid-1999.

This year, the plant is expected to produce 6,000 tons of sweetened condensed milk for domestic consumption, and another 4,000 for export. When upgrading is complete, he said, the plant should be able to produce 17,000 tons per year.

Nestle is also moving ahead with plans to develop a network of farmers to supply fresh milk to the factory. An agronomist has been hired who will spend six months in training in Thailand.

The company has already met with farmers living near the Russei Keo district factory, and Peterhans said that several of them will be selected as “model” farmers who will later train others on the proper feeding and care of the cows.

As for the cattle, which produce 90 percent less milk than dairy cows, the company will begin cross-breeding the cows with dairy cattle by artificial insemination before the end of 1998.

Later phases of the project may include ice cream production, said Peterhans, and possibly production of mineral water or re­packaging of other Nestle products.

“We have to be creative in terms of having a plant and what can we do with it to maximize output and what is good for consumers,” he said.


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