Zimbabwe Tea producer Tanganda invests US$15m in solar power plant

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ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe’s largest grower and producer of tea and coffee, Tanganda Tea Company Limited is set to complete the construction of US$15m solar plant to power its production facilities.

Tanganda Tea, a subsidiary of Meikles Limited, specializes in production and packaging of tea and coffee both for the domestic and foreign markets. The company also exports macadamia and avocado.

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According to reports by Business Times, the plant is scheduled to be completed by December this year and is targeted to produce 7.55 megawatts.

Zimbabwe has been battling power shortages over the last few years which has derailed operations in many industries.

For Tanganda, poor electricity supplies caused severe interruptions to irrigation systems as well as factory operating hours thus prompting Meikles to construct the solar plant.

The project has been partially funded by the proceeds from the sale of Meikles Hotel to Dubai-based billionaire Ali Albwardy, early this year.

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The plant is scheduled to be completed by December this year and is targeted to produce 7.55 megawatts.

Other than having operations in the agriculture sector, Meikles has also invested in hotels and retail outlets which include department stores, supermarkets and wholesalers.

It operates the Zimbabwean franchise for the South African Pick n Pay under the name TM Pick n Pay.

Despite the turbulent operating environment characterised by high inflation, foreign currency shortages and the COVID-19 pandemic, Meikles reported a 663% rise in group revenue in historical cost terms in the first quarter to June 2020.

But the revenue is reported to have declined by 12% in inflation adjusted terms compared with the previous year.

Its local sales were largely contributed by TM Supermarkets and Tanganda’s sales of tea, coffee and water.

Sales volume at TM Supermarkets declined by 34% relative to same period of the previous year while packed tea and coffee sales volume at Tanganda increased by 3%.

In volume terms, bulk tea export sales grew by 8% whilst average price per kg in US$ terms retreated by 12%.

Companies across the global are ramping up their installation of renewable energy sources in a bid to sustainably undertake their operations.

Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) aiming to have a quarter of its electricity needs supplied by renewable energy sources by 2025 is planning to install solar power at 12 of its plants by the end of 2020.

The beverage giant has increased its solar power generation capacity, with seven out of its 13 manufacturing facilities now using the renewable source of energy around the country, as at the end of August.

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