Location Spotlight: Unga Holdings

Location Spotlight: Unga Holdings

Affiliate: Unga Holdings Ltd.

Location: Kenya

Year Opened: March 2000 (Unga Limited milled its first bag of wheat flour in April 1909).

Products/Services offered by Unga:

  • Human Nutrition: Wheat Flour (Exe®, Kenya Pride®); Maize Meal (Jogoo®, Hostess®); Porridges (Famila®); Rice & Pulses (Amana®); Bread & Specialty Baked Products (Ennsvalley®).
  • Animal Nutrition: Poultry, Dairy, Pig, Fish, Miscellaneous Specialty Feeds (Fugo®); Cattle Mineral Licks & Blocks (Afya Bora®); Feed Pre-Mixes (Viminera®).
  • Animal Health: Acaricides (Almatix®); Larvicides (Nemazole®) and a range of specialty products, including vaccines, distributed for Ceva Sante Animale.

A normal day at Unga:

Unga’s production processes are no different than any other flour & animal feed milling operation in Seaboard. For example, raw materials are received from storage into the plant, blended, converted into finished product, packed, labelled, stored and loaded onto lorries for delivery to customers around the country. Overall, most of our customers are distributors; we sell direct to large farms, large supermarket chains and bakeries. Quality assurance, stock reconciliation and customer service are critical support processes.

How many employees/ collaborators work at Unga?

Unga Limited – 246; Unga Farm Care (EA) Limited – 185; Ennsvalley Bakery Limited – 215; Unga Millers (U) Ltd – 1

What the typical daily challenges Unga faces?

  • Raw material quality and supply – unavailability of key raw materials due to prevailing weather conditions, such as drought and excess rain during the harvest period. In addition, the seasonality of some raw materials leads to high pricing.
  • Government regulations/ restrictions on taxation, raw material importation and environment e.g., plastic ban.
  • Stiff competition/ new players – entry of new national and regional players that have a pricing advantage.
  • Cost of sales – trade constantly pushing for better terms (margins, credit) and high cost of distribution.
Opening of extruded fish feed plant (March 2017), Nairobi

What is the latest project or improvement Unga went through?

In November 2016, a 12,000 metric tonne steel silo complex commissioned at the Eldoret facility. Next, in August 2017, a Ronin Artemis laser scanning system was commissioned for the complex. Also, in March 2017, a 5,000 metric tonne per year extruded fish feed (tilapia, catfish) plant commissioned at the Nairobi Feeds facility. In the future this plant will also product pet food.

Are there any new projects developing in Unga soon, if so can you provide details about them?

Yes, they include:

  1. Reduce power consumption (30% less) Leonardo roll scheduled to be commissioned at the Commercial Street (Nairobi) wheat mill in July 2018 – to validate performance/results on behalf of Unga/Seaboard engineering group.
  2. New 300 TPD wheat mill (Buhler) scheduled to be commissioned at the Eldoret facility in September 2018.
  3. 6 TPH soybean meal plant (mechanical) scheduled to be commissioned at the Nairobi Feeds facility in early 2019.

What makes Unga unique or different to others?

  • Skilled and professional personnel in various fields and departments
  • Wide portfolio diversity and strength, both in Human and Animal Nutrition, that caters to both, high-end and mainstream market segments
  • Trusted brands that have a heritage of quality and high brand equity
  • Technological progression (SAP) and acumen in management systems
  • Adoptiion of the PaTaMu (acronym for ‘Pamoja Tuangamize Muda’ – ‘Together Let’s Eliminate Waste’) Model as a Continual Improvement strategy that strives toe eliminate wasteful activities in our many and varied processes. Through PaTaMu, Unga has been able to improve its productivity, quality, delivery and safety while maintaining highly motivated teams.
Inter-Floor Amana® Breakfast Competition, Central Support Office

What was the last social event, gathering or celebration you had at Unga?

Social events strive to create a work environment where team members can flourish and succeed to their highest potential, whilst engaging with one another. Social events, thought not many, are embraced by all as time to come together and celebrate. Some of the social events we have had in the recent years include: Christmas parties, cooking competitions, wellness week and monthly STRIICT (acronym for our core values) and birthday recognition hour at all the sites.

Year End Party Eldoret
Christmas Party (2017), Nairobi

How’s life in Kenya? Weather, economy, infrastructure, traffic, government, society, etc.?

  • Weather – Weather in Kenya is relatively stable with good conditions across the year.
    • December-February: Hot, dry season with no rain.
    • March-May: ‘Long’ rains season, with flooding in some parts of the country.
    • June-September: Cold, dry season, with little rain.
    • October-November: ‘Short’ rains season.
  • Socioeconomic – Kenya’s economy is market-based with only a few state-owned infrastructure enterprises, and maintains a liberalized external trade system. Its entrepreneurship and human capital give it huge potential for further growth, job creation and poverty reduction. The economy is expected to accelerate this year, thanks to the fading impact of the drought, increased investment and continued expansion in the agricultural sector.
  • Infrastructure – Kenya witnessed a thriving building and construction sector in 2015-2017 that saw various major connecting roads, a new railway line constructed from the port of Mombasa to Nairobi, and extensive housing development projects realized. Most places in Kenya are accessible by road or air.
  • Political/ Government – Kenya’s political context has been heavily shaped by historical, domestic tensions and electoral contest associated with devolution and abuse of power, high levels of corruption, a more than two decades long process of constitutional review and post-election violence. However, Kenya has general maintained remarkable stability, despite the changes in its’ political system and crises in neighboring countries.

What is special about Unga’s locations? Touristic spots or interesting things to see and do, etc.

  1. Nairobi – In addition to its urban core, the city has the Nairobi National Park. It is a large game reserve known for breeding endangered black rhinos and home, among many other animal and bird species, to buffalo, giraffes, zebras, lions, leopard and hippos. Next to it, is a well-regarded elephant orphanage operated by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Various other attractions include: museums, trekking in the Ngong Hills, drinking and eating and dancing in very wide variety of bars, restaurants and clubs… and so much more.
  2. Nakuru – Located in the Rift Valley, and home to the Lake Nakuru National Park. Nakuru is best known for the thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, pink flamingos feeding and nesting along the lake shore. Some of the interesting things to see and do around Nakuru include: trekking at Hell’s Gate and Mount Longonot, plus camping on the shore of Lake Naivasha.
  3. Eldoret – The home of many of our world-renowned athletic champions. Eldoret has one of the best, scenic views the country has to offer. Some of the interesting things to see and do include: Kenya’s oldest creamery, Doinyo Lessos, paragliding in the Kerio Valley and trekking in the Cherangany and Nandi Hills.