By Malum Nalu
History will be made today with the production of fresh milk and other dairy products to begin at the US$41 million (K129 million) Ilimo Dairy Farm at 14-Mile outside Port Moresby.
The milk, from 740 cows that were imported from New Zealand last year and fed and raised in computerised facilities, is expected to hit the shelves in Port Moresby supermarkets this week after a long drought in milk production in the country.
Innovative Agro Industry chairman and executive director Ilan Weiss was yesterday confident of the success of the product.
His company provided the equity, the Central government provided the land, the State has a 20 per cent stake in it.
“The formula for a good dairy farm is very simple,” Weiss said.
“Healthy cows produce good, top-quality milk.
“It’s as simple as that.
“We have to make sure that the cows are stress-free, get the best diet, and they will in turn give us the best, top-quality milk that you can get.”
Cows are fed sorghum, guinea grass and maize which are locally-grown.
Weiss said the dairy was starting with a production of about 6000-litres per day which would increase to 12,000.
“This is a 24/7 operation because we feed the cows three times a day – in the morning, in the afternoon at about 4(pm) and at midnight,” he said
“It’s very hi-tech.”
From the cow shed, the cows are taken to the milking parlour to be milked, with the milk then taken in to be processed and bottled.
Each cow is milked three times a day and gives an average of 26 litres a day.
Weiss said the dairy was a large operation with a staff of about 200, including young university graduates and people from nearby settlements. “We need a lot more, professionals are needed for veterinary care, monitoring and processing, lab managers, lab technicians, production managers,” he said.
“All this upskilling is going on right now.
“Remember, this is an infant industry: This is the first time this is done in PNG.”
Weiss said the dairy was also proud to be providing job opportunities to the surrounding community.
By Malum Nalu