ZIMBABWE – Nestle Zimbabwe says an US$8 million investment in its creamer business has lifted production by 14%.
The growth in output comes after the commissioning of the milk powders and Cremora plant in December last year by Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha.
“We have invested US$8 million to upgrade our production capacity. We have increased output by 14% in the creamer business,” Nestle MD Ben Ndiaye said on Wednesday at a retailers and buyers conference.
Ndiaye said the big question was why the same product imported from South Africa was being sold in Zimbabwe at a premium of 35%.
As of May this year, he said 47% of the creamer products in the market were infiltrating from outside the country.
Ndiaye said Nestle has come up with a small package of creamer to cater for the low end of the market.
He added that his company was playing a fulcrum role in bringing foreign direct investment.
Nestlé Zimbabwe, which has interest in dairy, has so far invested US$30 million for the plant upgrade and refurbishments since 2011.
Spar Zimbabwe MD Terrence Yeatman said consumers should be allowed to make a choice of products, adding Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 was a choice already made for consumers.
“SI 64 of (2016) is a choice already made for consumers. What will happen with those choiceswhich consumers need? Is consumer choice a reality?” he said.
He added it was heart-warming that government has already indicated that the instrument was temporary, saying it was essential for local companies to invest in innovation to compete globally.
Yeatman’s company has invested in manufacturing the Savemor baked beans locally, which for 10 years have been imported from South Africa.
According to the Ministry of Industry’s monitoring and evaluation committee, SI 64 has started to yield fruitful results with companies reporting employment levels and capacity utilisation.
Bimha urged manufacturing companies to spearhead the crafting of policies affecting them and not wait for government to do it for them.
“We want you to come up with policies than government introducing them to you. You should be the one driving us. If you grow, government grows. If you don’t grow, government won’t grow as well,” he said.