GWK opens world-class plant

2016-04-13 06:00
MORE than 100 permanent jobs have been created at the new plant.       Photos: Supplied

MORE than 100 permanent jobs have been created at the new plant. Photos: Supplied

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ONE of the most modern and technologically-advanced new food production facilities on the African continent was launched by GWK at Modderrivier on Thursday (07/04).

The initiative affirmed GWK’s confidence in the future of the South African agricultural sector through the launch of this new GWK Farm Foods factory.

An amount of R400 million was invested to complete development of the new GWK Farm Foods wheat mill, pasta plant and biscuit bakery by the farmer-owned South African agribusiness.

Of the R400 million, a total of R60 million was invested in expanding the silo capacity at the plant to service the new facility, which boasts the latest and most advanced milling, pasta and biscuit manufacturing technology imported from Italy and Switzerland.

Wheat flour, pasta and biscuits, under the new Nature’s Farms brand in addition to GWK’s already established maize meal products, will initially be produced by GWK Farm Foods, who is a subsidiary of GWK.

The product names and packaging designs showcase GWKs origin on the farm, and the new product offering is a clear response to consumers’ growing interest in knowing where their food comes from.

The company has already signed up with retail stores like Pick n Pay and Spar for their products to hit the shelves.

Pieter Spies, GWKs managing director, explained during the launch that thorough understanding of the category for pasta had been required and what needed to be done from a product development point of view, had been ensured.

“For biscuits we made absolutely sure that we have the right flavours, cutting-edge innovation and the best taste profiles.

“For our wheat flour, understanding the results required for the baker was pivotal in all our planning.

“We will continue to innovate our maize meal to ensure that we stay ahead in the category,” added Spies.

Other food products from GWK farms will also be brought to the market under the new Nature’s Farms brand as consumer demand dictates – or where the GWK team identifies opportunities to enter more categories with new products.

Spies said GWK was very selective in its route to market for the new product line.

“Alignment with the correct partners up to and onto the shelf is absolutely crucial. Our brands are premium products with authentic origin, therefore top-end retail is key.

“As part of GWKs business strategy, implementing the best technology to produce Nature’s Farm products and honouring the farmer produce was crucial in the planning phase.

“This has allowed us to take ownership of the value chain, implement product diversification and produce premium goods while keeping cost as low as possible.”

Tom Meintjes, general manager of grain products at GWK, also revealed that the new facility had been commissioned at full capacity, two and a half years after construction had started.

“The project was completed on time and within a deviation of less than 2% of original cost projections.

“More than 400 temporary employment opportunities were created during construction with 88 contractors and 48 subcontractors involved at different times.

“More than 100 permanent jobs have also been created at the new plant,” he said.

The new agri-processing plant boasts a capacity of 25 tons per hour for wheat flour, 1,3 tons per hour for biscuits and 1 ton per hour for pasta.

The wheat used at the plant is sourced from irrigation farms that produce premium grains and are known for their high quality in the GWK production area.

The new GWK Farm Foods plant creates a close-to-source market for wheat produced in the area and directly impacts positive economic development for affiliated industries including, amongst others, distribution and service trades.

The unveiling of the new plant and product line comes shortly after GWK announced record financial results for the 2015 financial year, which include a more than 50% year-on-year increase in profit.

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