The factory can produce about 7.8 billion pellets of chewing gum annually
US headquartered Mars Wrigley Confectionery has cemented its business in the East and Central Africa region with the new state of the art Ksh7billion (USD68.9 million) manufacturing plant in Athi River, Machakos County, Kenya.
The plant was officially commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday. The President was represented by Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.
Kenyatta has since hailed Mars Wrigley for putting up the new factory citing the need to invest in additional manufacturing capacity to create more jobs for Kenyans.
The investment gels well with his ambitious Big Four Agenda’s manufacturing pillar that seeks to increase manufacturing’s contribution to GDP from the current 8.5 per cent to 15 per cent by 2022.
“To create the desired jobs, we need to invest in existing and new industries that will grow our country’s manufacturing capacity from the current eight-point four percent to fifteen per cent of the Gross Domestic Product by 2022,” President Kenyatta said in a speech read on his behalf by CS Munya.
He added that the government was particularly keen on working with the private sector to achieve that goal.
“My administration remains committed to catalyzing even more private-sector-led growth in the manufacturing sector,” the President said.
The new factory which is constructed on a 20-acre piece of land in Mavoko, Machakos County has replaced the company’s old plant that was located in Nairobi’s Industrial Area.
According to the company’s management, investment in a new facility whose construction started three years ago, was driven by the need to meet growing demand for the firm’s products in Africa, while improving capacity and technology.
“With the rapidly expanding middle class and youthful population, we see our products becoming more and more integrated into people’s lifestyles.” Said Mr. Duncan McCulloch, Regional Managing Director for Mars Wrigley Confectionery.
The facility is expected to have a major impact on the Kenyan economy in terms of job creation both directly at the factory and indirectly through its expansive value chain a
s well as boosting the country’s exports.
It will serve a growing market of more than 14 countries – that includes Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Djibouti, DRC and South Sudan.
Mr. McCulloch commended President Kenyatta for his efforts in boosting local manufacturing through his government’s Big Four Agenda saying it will contribute to the expansion of employment and business opportunities for Kenyans, while cementing the country’s position as a leading industrial hub in Africa.
“Increased capacity and efficiencies made possible by this new facility will contribute significantly to the scaling up of our already existing entrepreneurship program. So far, over 1,000 youth and women from across the country have benefited from the program we call Maua. With the support from government and other partners, we hope to increase the number to 5,000 in the next two years,” Added McCulloch.
Maua is the company’s entrepreneur accelerator program designed to empower individual entrepreneurs as well as create large networks of micro-entrepreneurs and micro-distributors.
“As government, we remain committed to supporting local industries as part of the Big Four agenda under the manufacturing pillar. Our intention is to transform the country into a competitive global economy and improve the lives of Kenyans.” said President Kenyatta.
He added that the company’s decision to invest in Kenya on such a substantial scale is a clear affirmation of the country’s position as an attractive investment destination.
Mars Wrigley Confectionery is a global leader in the manufacture of chewing gum, confections and chocolates. The new factory will produce popular Mars Wrigley Confectionery brands, including Big G, PK, Doublemint and Juicy Fruit. Additionally, the company will also look to expand a wide range of their chocolate portfolio in the market.
The factory has the capacity of producing about 7.8 billion pellets of chewing gum annually.
Just recently, the new factory was recognized for adopting green building strategies and practices in its design and construction, becoming the first manufacturing plant in Eastern Africa and one of the few in Africa to achieve LEED GOLD certification status.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. It is run and managed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGB), a non-profit organization that promotes sustainability in building design, construction, and operation. It is a prestigious rating for environmentally conscious buildings and sites.
Mars Wrigley Confectionery is the world’s leading manufacturer of chocolate, chewing gum, mints, and fruity confections. Once the planned worldwide integration of the Mars Chocolate and Wrigley businesses is complete, Mars Wrigley Confectionery will employ over 34,000 Associates globally and have operations in approximately 70 countries.
Headquartered in Chicago, Mars Wrigley Confectionery will distribute its world-famous brands including M&M’s, Snickers, Twix, Skittles and Orbit in more than 180 countries.
In Kenya, the company has its headquarters in Athi River and has been operational since 1969.