ZIMBABWE – President Robert Mugabe’s Alpha and Omega dairy company says it now plans to diversify into production of ice-creams and chocolates this month as it seeks to bring more competition into the market.

Alpha and Omega General manager Stanley Nhari yesterday told Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha during a visit to the First Family’s dairy farm in Mazowe that the chocolate manufacturing plant imported from Italy was already in the country.

“We have done much of the installation which is required to be done by our company and we expect the technicians from the suppliers to be landing in Zimbabwe by mid-March, so that they would then finalise the installation and then kick start the ice cream project. We believe that before the end of this month we must have the ice cream on the streets,” Nhari said.

He said with the Alpha and Omega ice cream was going to create employments as currently the group had set aside 200 vendor cans for the ice creams.

He said at the present moment he was not able to state how much the project cost but the funds were borrowed from CBZ, the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe and many other financial institutions.

“I think what is going to determine what we are supposed to produce, will be the demand of our product on the market and the improvement on the economy because liquidity in the market is a challenge at the present moment.

“We might want to produce as much as we would want but if there is no cash on the market we end up not being in a position to sell the product,” he said.

Nhari said the company was currently operating at around plus or minus 20% capacity utilisation and there was a lot of capacity lying idle.

He added that the company was targeting to produce 40 000 litres of raw milk per day as currently was producing around 22 000 litres per day.

“We are targeting that before the end of 2015 we must be producing plus or minus 40 000 litres a day.

Currently we are around 22 000 litres per day. But we are breeding our animals within the head and we are also buying some of the calving heifers across the borders in order to supplement our milking head,” he said.

He also said the group was also working on an expansion of its beef head.

“The beef head currently is insignificant at plus or minus 3 000 and we are anticipating to treble that.”

Nhari said by next month the group will be exporting the first batch to Botswana.

March 17, 2015; https://www.newsday.co.zw/2015/03/03/alpha-omega-dairy-plans-diversify-production/