Kazakhstan 2015 | AGRICULTURE & FOOD | COLUMN

TBY talks to Renaud Chamonal, General Manager, Danone Berkut on dairy products.

Renaud Chamonal

Danone recently established a production plant in Almaty Oblast. Why is this important, and how is it contributing to the generation of new jobs for the local market?

The first thing we did as a group was to acquire a Russian company called Unimilk. That secured our expansion in the CIS region. Unimilk has the equipment and technology to produce local specialities such as tvorog and kefir. Through the deal we got more than 20 factories in Russia, two in Belarus, and one in Ukraine. Economic and political stability as well as the global potential of Kazakhstan were among the reasons behind the decision to launch a factory in the country. It is a hub for the region. The closest production is Kyrgyzstan, where we are growing at 171% this year. I think that one of the benefits of developing the industry in Kazakhstan concerns employment. Investing in the factory allowed us to generate a lot of jobs. We have 70 people working in the factory alone but a factory is providing a lot of indirect employment across the economy. The farms we work with employ 180 people in rural areas, and we also try to source locally whenever possible. We have also 300 more people in the company in the head office, warehouses, and in the sales and logistic teams in different regions of the country, and we focus a lot on developing local talents.