How to start a successful dairy business

Dairy production has the potential to be a profitable business opportunity for farmers in Africa. There is always room to grow, both for beginner farmers as well as more established players.

Central Milk is able to assist farmers in establishing a successful dairy business.

Central Milk is able to assist farmers in establishing a successful dairy business.

Adding value

Smaller farmers have the opportunity to “add value” to their milk by putting up a factory and entering the market place. Dairy farmers can either produce milk and sell to the larger companies or become smaller distributors of their own products.

The following products can be produced on a dairy farm:

  • Fresh milk – straight from the farm, not pasteurised (be careful for the unpasteurised bacteria)
  • Pasteurised fresh milk as well as traditional sour milk
  • Drinking and eating yoghurt (flavoured cultured milk)
  • Cheese products


South Africa-based Central Milk can supply dairies with the equipment to produce the above-mentioned products. Central Milk manufactures most equipment required by the dairy industry. Whether you need process equipment for milk, sour milk, cheese or yogurt, the company has technology and products to suite your requirements.

The company has been involved with the establishment of various successful dairy businesses across the African continent. “In Botswana we’ve supplied a yoghurt and sour milk factory; in Zambia a company bought our equipment to produce milk, sour milk and a bit of cheese; and we were also involved with two large dairies for the King of Swaziland. In addition we’ve also supplied a number of projects in Zimbabwe and Mozambique,” says Anton Gilfillan, managing director of Central Milk.

Packaging and marketing

While planning a dairy facility, it is important to consider packaging and marketing strategies, which is essential to the success of any new dairy business.

Important factors to consider are:

1. To bottle products is the most common way to do it. Plastic bottles and lids, however, are expensive and are not readily available in certain countries.
2. Sachet packaging, from 200ml to 1ltr, is more affordable and is easily available.
3. The “Ama tap-tap” system, a new concept approved in South Africa, allows for products such as milk, sour milk, juice and yoghurt, to be sold to the public’s own containers. Benefits of this system include:

  • Product is sold while it is still fresh
  • It is much cheaper because there is no container involved (client brings own container)
  • The work for the dairy farmer is minimised.


Dairy farming is not just about milking a cow under a tree. It is a business opportunity and a business must have a plan in place. The success of any dairy business depends on two things:

1. The motivation of the owner and his/her skills
2. The dairy’s marketing strategy

Contact details

For more information about Central Milk’s products and services, contact Anton Gilfillan at:

[email protected]


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