ZIMBABWE – Lesaffre Zimbabwe, a yeast manufacturer in Zimbabwe has unveiled plans of expanding its operations into the regional market following a US$10 million upgrade of its plant which has helped the company increase its production capacity.

The firm seeks to expand its operations into South Africa and Mozambique among other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries after successfully entering the Zambian and Malawian markets.

According to Munyaradzi Mutsvairo, Lesaffre Zimbabwe general manager, the company is now operating at 80% capacity, following the upgrading of its plant, reports NewsDay.

Currently, the firm supplies yeast and premixes into the baking and brewing industry as well as waste management companies.

Mutsvairo, however, said the company requires US$350 000 per month to import raw materials – which constitute about 40% of the company’s inputs.

The company, which is the sole producer of yeast in Zimbabwe, has a production capacity of about 10 000 tonnes per annum, about double the annual country’s yeast demand estimated at 5 400 tonnes.

By 2018, the company was targeting to export 40 percent of its total production especially into the southern African region with Zambia being its major export market.

In 2016, the French yeast giant, Sociètè Industrielle Lesaffre (Lesaffre) acquired a 60% stake in firm, formerly known as Anchor Yeast, which has subsequently rejuvenated its operations through a total investment of about US$17.5 million.

Since the acquisition, Lesaffre has also commissioned a backing centre in Workington Harare to offer expertise in baking through training, technical support, product and process development and commercial presentation of the products.

The Baking Centre is expected to play a pivotal role in the development of the baking industry in Zimbabwe and the region through innovation, research and development and provision of appropriate training.

The facility was the group’s first training centre in Southern Africa as part of a concept developed in France in 1974 which has grown into more than 35 centres present on five continents.

Lesaffre Group is a multi-national firm and global leader in the manufacture of yeast and fermentation products with a presence in over 180 countries and a turnover of more than US$2.23 billion.