ZIMBABWE – Associated Foods Zimbabwe, producer of peanut butter and jam spreads, is eyeing the export market after successfully installing a state-of-the-art production line.

The production line was financed by a $2 million investment from the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, Norfund.

The peanut butter production line is similar to machines used by leading international food processing companies such of as Hersheys in the US and other producers in South Africa.

Capacity has trebled and the company is now operating at about 80 percent running 12 hours a day.

“We now have the ability to look into export avenues because we did not have that capacity before we acquired the new production line,” said AFZ director and majority shareholder Simba Nyabadza.

Production is consolidated at AFZ’s Vumba factory at Border Stream Farm from where all of the company’s products are being produced.

The company also produces mangoes, tomatoes, macadamia nuts among other farm produce.

“The new state-of-the-art production line is all computerised with human hands only at the packing stage. More importantly, the quality of our products has vastly improved . . . it’s now world class,” said Mr Nyabadza.

AFZ, Zimbabwe’s leading producer of peanut butter, jam spreads, as well as canned tomatoes and fruits, and nut savouries, is a result of a merger between Honeywood Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd, Zimbabwe’s leading producer of jams, mainly under the “Farm Gold” brand, and Spread Valley (Pvt) Ltd, Zimbabwe’s leading producer of peanut butter, mainly under the “Mama’s” brand.

The merger was also part-financed under the Norfund investment package.

“By combining the manufacturing strengths of Honeywood Enterprises with the sales, marketing and distribution strengths of Spread Valley, we aim to create the economies of scale and synergies in order to generate significant added value and efficiencies for all stakeholders, including customers.

“We are pleased to have found in Norfund a first-class partner with a deep understanding of the food and agribusiness sector, strong track-record and a well-rounded international netwok,” said Mr Nyabadza.

“This investment is in line with Norfund’s strategy to support profitable and sustainable, local enterprises in developing countries.

Agriculture is a priority sector for Norfund, as it employs approximately half of Africa’s workforce and plays an important role for economic growth and development.

“We look forward to being an active, strategic minority investor in AFZ with a long term perspective,” added Chishamiso Mawoyo, an investment manager in Norfund’s Food and Agribusiness department.

August 15, 2016; http://allafrica.com/stories/201608110775.html