ZIMBABWE –  Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited, a Coca-Cola’s licensed manufacturer and distributor of carbonated drinks has said it intends to expand tomato and orange out-grower schemes as it seeks to strengthen participation of locals in products value chain.

Schweppes General Manager, Demos Mbauya, has announced that it is in the process of increasing its supply base of tomato and orange processing plants according to the Herald.

Mr Mbauya said that with increased capacity, the firm has been compelled to develop an out-grower schemes of the two raw materials.

“We are planning to increase tomato and orange out-grower schemes through our agribusiness side.

We also need to expand our sourcing for orange business and that has an impact on downstream out-growers, therefore we anticipate growth in capacity of out-grower scheme,” said Mr Mbauya.

This development comes at a time when the company has already begun Mazoe Orange Crush exports to Zambia as efforts of increasing foreign currency earnings.

The expansion of the out-grower scheme is part of the company’s initiative to incorporate local farmers in into the products value chain.

This is also aimed at promoting tomato and orange import substation which will help in reversing the foreign currency.

Mr Mbauya has also said that local sourcing will also enable the company to cut down its freight costs and duty requirements.

“We have taken a deliberate policy as a company that local players participate in our value chain because that is more sustainable.

I mentioned earlier about local sourcing and import substitution hence reducing pressure on available foreign currency,” said Mr Mbauya.

Schweppes Zimbabwe has implemented a slight increase in their products prices to cope with the growing cost of production in an environment that has been hostile to businesses in the last quarter of 2018.

“There has been volatility on pricing and despite all that, we have remained steadfast in terms of pricing although we have put an incremental cost considering the rise in cost of production.

We have, however, tried to make sure that our product remains available,” said Mr Mbauya.

Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited product portfolio currently includes cordials, fruit juices, bottled water and flavoured drinks.

These products are marketed under well renowned brand names; Mazoe, Minute Maid and Schweppes Water.