Almarai Company (Almarai) never stop committing to its catchline: “Quality You Can Trust”. This is the reason why it embarked on providing the general public with free visits to its cow farms and processing plants in Al Kharj in the year 2013 as part of its whole new level of bringing intimate connection with the customers.
Our last visit (“Almarai’s Central Processing Plant In Al Kharj“) did not include any of the seven dairy farms: Al Hamra, Al Fanar, Al Nakheel, Al Rabiah, Al Badiah, Al Danah, and Todhia. Almarai is so gracious that we were given another chance to book a visit last 14 August 2016. Our gratitude to our colleague, Warren Rivera, for including me and my friends in the invite sent to Almarai’s Communications & PR Department two months prior to said date. (Booking is a bit of challenge due to the rising public demand especially during this time of the year and early summer.)
We had to check the bakery plant once again because the arranged visit included it as the first stop. The final one would be the Al Danah Farm, which is just a few kilometers away from Almarai’s Central Processing Plant (CPP) area.
We were all filled with so much anticipation and excitement as we were nearing the dairy farm’s gate. Finally, we were setting foot on one of Almarai’s seven dairy farms. How interesting it would be to see herd of cows in the desert. I had always thought cows are only a thing in the tropics where grass ideally thrives. It was difficult to picture farming them in a Saudi Arabian desert. Thank God for the booming dairy farms in the capital city that challenged the imagination of the concerned locals. According to what I read, there are more than 120,000 heads of cattle being raised in Al Kharj and 80 percent of the dairy products produced in Saudi Arabia comes from the area. Hence, the name “Milk Road”.
Almarai, of course, holds the highest number of the figures; it is the largest integrated dairy foods company in the world.
Before we entered the facility proper, we had to undergo disinfection at the gate. The bus that carried us had to be disinfected too through another form of disinfecting equipment a few meters away from the gate.
At about ten minutes, we were already seeing the cows peacefully resting in the sheds which the caretakers call “‘parlor”. The smell of sheds was what took my attention for a minute. It brought me back to my hometown in the Philippines where a number of cows graze in front of our house.
The smell is something not so, for lack of a better word to describe it, inviting because of huge milk vats mixed with cow dung on the grounds. Nevertheless, it was something that made me feel closer to home in a special way.
I am not a technical person when it comes to this kind of facility but one thing I observed, based on the the way the geezers run the operations of the farm, is that everything is closely monitored―from the cows’ identification system to how much milk they produce respectively, even the narration of how silage are being meticulously made…among other processes.
- Dairy Farm Visit (snapshotsofsaudi.worpdress.com)
- Almarai’s pursuit of quality ensures unique success story (arabnews.com)
- A Tour to Al Safi Dairy Farm in Al Kharj around Riyadh (life-in-saudiarabia.blogspot.com)