SOUTH AFRICA – South African food distributor Hume International is seeking to pump in R30-million (US$1.69m) towards expanding its dry store facilities to meet surging local demand and grow its export business.

According to reports by Engineering news, Hume International has seen remarkable growth in its dry goods business over the past year.

This comes amid soaring local and international demand for products such as starches, soya products and casings, which are all typically used in the production of sausages, viennas and polonies.

In response to the surge in demand, the company plans to build a new dry store facility totalling 1 300 m2 in Gqeberha, in the Eastern Cape.

It is currently also completing a new 500 m2 building at the N12 Strategic Park, in Johannesburg, Gauteng, and will be increasing its storage capacity in Pinetown, in KwaZulu-Natal.

Additionally, Hume plans to have expanded its storage facilities and presence in Cape Town by July next year to better serve the Western Cape market.

Further, the company now aims to seize advantage of its expertise in African markets to expand its successful export business, which has already grown 40% over the past year.

To make the plan a success, Hume will partner with various local producers to bring South African-made goods to countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Swaziland, Mozambique and Botswana.

“Exports have been a key focus for Hume International over the past year, where we have become involved in selling goods such as sunflower oil, cereals, ice cream, soft drinks and even soaps to Africa and the Indian Ocean islands.

“As traders and food distributors, our goal is to strengthen supply chains in South Africa and in Africa, bridging the gap between local production and demand to ensure a steady supply of goods and help to reduce price volatility.

“We are proud to play a meaningful role in assisting South African companies to reach overseas and African markets, enabling them to grow and expand their own businesses,” says Hume International founder and MD Fred Hume.

This investment represents another major milestone in the evolution of the business, which started as a small family butchery in Gqeberha in 1997.

It began importing in 2007 and has expanded its operations to employ more than 300 people across the country, trading in 27 countries globally and selling more than 398 products.

“We have traditionally been known as a frozen food commodities trading business, importing some 180-million kilogram of frozen food over 2022 alone. But, over the past three years, we’ve slowly ventured into dry goods, as we’ve noticed increased demand for dry products,” notes Hume.

“We have, therefore, increased our product basket to specifically include locally manufactured starches, sunflower oil and other fast-moving consumer goods products for the sub-Saharan African market.”

The response from manufacturers and wholesalers has been phenomenal so far, enabling the company to act as one-stop-shops for food manufacturers and wholesalers in South Africa and across the continent.

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