Nestlé scales-up Skimmelkrans low-carbon pilot to 96 dairy farms

A Nestlé milk tanker at Skimmelkrans Dairy Farm in George, Western Cape. SUPPLIED.

A Nestlé milk tanker at Skimmelkrans Dairy Farm in George, Western Cape. SUPPLIED.

Published Jun 30, 2024


Food producer Nestlé South Africa is expanding its low-carbon dairy farming initiative, continuing its efforts to transform traditional dairy farming through regenerative agriculture, the company announced yesterday.

Building on the success of its Skimmelkrans Dairy pilot project in George, Western Cape, a total of 96 farms along the Garden Route had now adopted these innovative practices, setting a new standard for sustainable milk production in South Africa.

The Skimmelkrans Net Zero Carbon Emissions Project was first launched in December 2020, in a bid to create the company’s first dairy farm to reach net zero carbon emissions.

Nestlé said the 96 farms joining the movement were now supplying fresh milk to its factory in Mossel Bay.

It said the aim was to continue reducing carbon emissions while enhancing biodiversity.

Nestlé East and Southern Africa (ESAR) business executive for dairy, Takudzwa Mupfurutsa, said the company’s commitment to sustainability was unwavering.

He said Nestlé was aiming to expand this initiative further, inspiring other dairy farms across Africa with the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

“The expansion of our low-carbon pilot farm is testament to the success of regenerative agriculture in sustainable dairy farming. We can safely say we are well away from peak emissions and are making great progress towards this net zero emission by 2050. And in the same vein, we talk about regenerative agriculture, sustainability, etc,” Mupfurutsa said.

“What we are saying is that we are committed to leaving the world in a much better place than we found it. And to do that is not just by talking, but it’s by deliberate actions that we do over time.”

“The advancements at Skimmelkrans Dairy and the expansion to influence the other 96 farms underscores Nestlé NESPRAY’s dedication to innovation and sustainability.”

Nestlé East and Southern Africa (ESAR) business executive for dairy Takudzwa Mupfurutsa, Nestlé group manager of agricultural services Hoven Meyer, ESAR head of public relations and events Lesedi Mashale, and Skimmelkrans dairy farm chief executive George Kuyler, among others, at the Skimmelkrans Farm. SUPPLIED.

Results to date from the Skimmelkrans Dairy pilot project include annual averages of 500 tons of manure processed, 14.5 million litres of water recycled and 6 000 tons of carbon sequestrated through soil work.

The project harnesses cutting-edge techniques such as biological pest control and zero tillage, which minimises chemical use, improves soil health and boosts crop yields.

Over and above these, a solar installation generates 285 kVA of power.

George Kuyler, chief executive at Skimmelkrans Dairy, said they had seen significant changes since adopting regenerative farming practices.

“The switch to regenerative agriculture has transformed our farm. Not only are we seeing better yields, but we’re also contributing to a healthier environment,” Kuyler said.

Together, Skimmelkrans Dairy, the other 96 low carbon dairy farms and the Nestlé factory employ more than 1 000 people who contribute to the production of this proudly South African brand.

Proudly South African chief executive Eustace Mashimbye said Nestlé fully espoused the values of companies that were affiliated with his organisation. This included increasing their levels of local content across their value chain, including, among others, sourcing of milk from local farms, as well as driving import replacement by sourcing packaging items and other raw materials locally.

“In this way, jobs are created across the entire value chain and not only in their direct operations,” Mashimbye said.

“The entrenchment of sustainability in their processes and sourcing strategies is another criteria that Proudly South African members have to comply with – which Nestlé fully complies with, and this is evident in all their current processes, including with their suppliers.”

Zinhle Tyikwe, chief executive of the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, said the Skimmelkrans project was a shining example of efforts by Nestlé to reach waste free and low-carbon emissions by 2050.

“Nestlé is leading in showing that being environmentally sustainable and ensuring circularity can be profitable and make financial sense, while protecting the environment,” Tyikwe said.

“We believe that Nestlé’s example can be replicated by other companies in the food manufacturing value chain as their contribution to achieving low-carbon emissions, which, as we know, will have significant economic, social and environmental benefits for South Africa.”