ZIMBABWE – Schweppes Zimbabwe, manufacturer and distributor of non-carbonated beverages in Zimbabwe, is seeking to invest US$35 million in the next 10 years into a 2 700-hectare citrus plantation.

This is in a bid to increase production and valued addition at its Beitbridge Juice Processing Plant.

Shweppes, operating under a licence from The Coca-Cola Company Limited, currently processes 20,000 tonnes of fruits annually, against a target of at least 40,000 tonnes.

The deficit is due to limited supply of raw materials in the local market, necessitated by the fact that land placed on citrus production has been reducing over the years from around 10 000 hectares to between 4 000 and 5 000 hectares, reports by The Herald.

Also, the company competes with the export citrus fruits market, which offers lucrative rates compared to the local market.

Schweppes registered a marginal decline in volume by 1% in the full year ended March 2021

In order to enhance community development in Beitbridge, 300 hectares at the new citrus plantation had been reserved for use by members supported by Schweppes.

To further ensure the facility is ran in an efficient manner, the company’s Managing Director Mr Charles Msipa, has indicated that the Beitbridge Juice Processing plant will be powered by a mini-solar power plant.

Also, the plantation will be served with the Zhovhe Dam, ensuring that it has plenty of water for irrigation-based farming.

“Currently, we are processing oranges, lemons, and grapefruit into juice and oils and stock feeds as a by-product from the peels,” he said.

The investment will enable the company to not only expand its local market but also venture into the export markets and avail more job opportunities to the locals.

Schweppes’ parent company reports rise in revenue

In other related news, Schweppes registered a marginal decline in volume by 1%, in the full year ended March 2021.

This was an indication of notable recovery in main line crushes and syrups and the benefits from the relaunch of the Minute Maid Juice drinks.

This was revealed by the company’s major share-holder Delta Corporation, which reported a 39% rise in revenue to ZW$ 40.45 billion (US$111.7m) in the period under review.

The revenue growth, according to the manufacturing giant was driven by inflation induced pricing across all product categories.

Delta operates in five segments: alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, sparkling beverages, lager beers and traditional beers.

Its lager beer volumes grew by 17% compared to prior year, with the volume recovery attained mostly during the second and third quarters following the relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions.

Meanwhile, its Sorghum beer volumes in the country declined by 7%, as its Zambian unit reflected a growth of 6%.

Delta’s sparkling beverages volume grew by 33% over last year, albeit from a low base.

The business recorded a notable recovery in market share on the back of consistent product supply and competitive pricing.

The company’s wines and spirit unit, African Distillers recorded a volume growth of 31% compared to the prior year, driven by the spirits and ready to drink categories.

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