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Lifeline for ailing Free State milk industry

Author: Dane McDonald

The ailing Free State dairy industry received a breather from a milk broker who agreed to buy from regional farmers, following the closure of the 27-year-old Montic Clocolan milk depot.

Martin Swanepoel, CEO of Montic holding company Sontic, told Fin24 that the economics of having a depot in the region do not make financial sense in the long term. “Some of the bigger producers, that traditionally went through Clocolan… have found other milk buyers… with Clocolan left with the small buyers,” he said.

Clocolan is a collation depot which sends out vehicles to collect milk from farmers. From the depot, the milk is transferred to tankers which then transport it to Heidelberg production facilities in Gauteng. The depot is also facing challenges around milk quality and certification, according to Swanepoel. “With the Consumer Act retailers are focused on quality issues, with audits from the suppliers to the shelf,” he said.

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