Following months of sleepless nights and a huge personal investment, Abdukadir Mohamed Salad, the owner of the first milk processing plant in Mogadishu in 25 years, is now relishing his growing success.
Located in southern Mogadishu, the million-dollar Irman Dairy processing plant stands tall after Salad, 40, invested the savings he had made whilst living in exile in the UK.
He set up the milk processing plant in March last year to provide an alternative to the various brands of imported milk powder and raw milk produced by local small farmers that were available in Somalia.
During the first few months, the business incurred losses due to low demand. It was producing 250 litres per day, far below its maximum capacity of 10,000 litres per day.
The biggest challenges were persuading people to choose milk other than the available imported milk powder and unpasteurized local milk from local farmers.
Speaking to Radio Ergo, Salad said the business was now improving.
“At the beginning, we were disappointed because people were not using our milk but the number of people who are interested has increased. We started with 250 litres per day due to lack of market but now we process 3,000 to 3,500 litres a day,” he explained.
Irman distributes milk to 230 shops and supermarkets in the city. There are 295 dairy cows in total on the property with 22 workers operating the plant.
Irman Dairy sells a 1-litre sachet of milk for one and a half dollars.
Salad’s short-term goal is to expand to set up branches across the country to boost sales.
Amina Hassan Hassan, a mother living in Mogadishu, has been an ardent consumer of products of Irman Dairy for the last six months.
She opted for this milk because it keeps for several days, unlike the raw milk which needs frequent boiling to keep it fresh.
“Now I give my children Irman milk. My youngest child has been drinking this milk for the last six months; he is just turning one. Once I buy the milk, I use it for three to four days but if you preserve it well it can last longer,” Amina said.